O’Flaherty up, Dobbs back to Tacoma
The M’s have made the first in their forthcoming series of roster moves. Eric O’Flaherty has had his contract purchased from Tacoma (thus putting him on the 40 man roster, using the last open spot) and Greg Dobbs has been optioned back to Tacoma to make room for him. The team will go with a 13 man pitching staff for tonight’s game. I’m not kidding. Tonight’s bench is going to be Rivera, Bloomquist, and Morse. It’s a trio of three of my least favorite players. They could only make it better if they brought back Rich Amaral.
Tomorrow, they’ll go back down to 12 pitchers, as Chris Snelling will be activated from the disabled list. He’s in Oakland with the team. He’s actually going to stick this time, it sounds like. A pitcher will be removed tomorrow – likely Pineiro (DFA), Soriano (DL), or Green (optioned to Tacoma).
Friday, Sexson returns to the club, which will send Mike Morse back to Tacoma.
O’Flaherty, by the way, is pretty good. He was drafted out of Walla Walla HS in the sixth round of the 2003 draft. They tried him as a starter in ’04 with poor results, but improved after a move to the bullpen and a repeat assignment in Wisconsin last year. He started the season in Inland Empire and worked his way up to Tacoma while sustaining lights out success at each level.
He throws 90-93 from the left side with good sink on his fastball. He has an above average slider and good command. The interesting thing about O’Flaherty is that he’s effective in wildly different ways against lefties and righties. Lefties can’t touch him (6 BB, 32 K), but when they do, he’s about half and half grounders or flyballs. He struggles to throw strikes to right-handed batters (16 BB, 41 K) but is a dominant groundball pitcher against them.
The best guess that I can take away from his numbers is that he’s attacking RHB’s with sinkers down in the zone, refusing to leave a pitch up, even if it costs him a walk. Lefties just can’t touch his breaking ball, and he eats them alive with it. When they do hit it, they might get it in the air, but the tradeoff is worth it.
He’s just 21 and has taken a big step forward this year. With his sinking fastball and effective out-pitch slider, he could be a very good left handed reliever. He’s pretty much major league ready, and it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see him pitch quite well the rest of the year.
Edit to add: Joel’s been removed from the rotation. Jake Woods will start Sunday. We’ll see if Joel goes away for good tomorrow.