Apologies for the horrible headline.
To say the market for Will Ohman never formed this off-season is like saying that writing is really just organized words. The good news is that Ohman already has his assignment for the season. Last year he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 30th and made his Dodgers’ debut about a week later. Things didn’t go so well though, and Ohman racked up 12 innings in 21 appearances before bowing out in late May due to injury. The Orioles stand to potentially gain from this down year as they signed the 32-year-old to a minor league deal last week.
Overcoming the odds is nothing new for Ohman. He made his Majors’ debut in 2000 at the tender age of 22. He made six appearances for the Cubs and followed that up with 11 appearances in 2001. At this point, it seemed that Ohman would conceivably break camp with the Cubs to begin the 2002 season. Instead, Ohman would undergo Tommy John Surgery and miss the 2002 and 2003 seasons. He returned to pitching baseballs in 2004 and to the Majors in a more-permanent role in 2005.
The southpaw has 324 career appearances and 231 innings. That suggests he’s not someone teams will run out there for a complete inning every time, but he’s actually faced more righties since 2005 than lefties (503 to 440). His splits suggest that he is indeed better versus lefties, as he holds a 3.99 FIP versus lefties (3.51 xFIP) and a 4.15 FIP versus righties (4.96 xFIP). Besides striking out lefties at a higher clip,he also induces more grounders against them.
At some point, Ohman will pitch for the Orioles. The Orioles only have three lefty relievers on their 40-man roster, and that includes recently re-signed Mark Hendrickson, Alberto Castillo, and Wilfrido Perez. Former Royals’ arm Chris George will also be in camp. My best guess is that Ohman makes his debut early on and the Orioles attempt to spin him off for something at the deadline; selling Ohman to a contender as the proverbial lockdown lefty.