Oakland A's trade Cole Irvin to Baltimore Orioles

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A's had a bit of a logjam in their starting rotation. They have cleared one spot by trading one of their two relatively proven options to the Baltimore Orioles.

As Jeff Passan from ESPN reported, Cole Irvin is headed to the Orioles in exchange for prospect Darell Hernaiz. The A's are also sending minor league pitcher Kyle Virbitsky to Baltimore in the deal.

Oakland A's deal Cole Irvin in continued teardown

Irvin was the A's best starter last season, a reclaimation project as he was acquired from the Phillies for cash considerations. While he may not be a top of the rotation arm, his ability to take the ball every fifth day and throw strikes was extremely valuable. He posted a 3.98 ERA and a 1.160 WHiP in his 181 innings, striking out 128 batters with 36 walks. However, Irvin also has a 3.44 ERA at the Colesium since joining the A's and a 4.88 ERA on the road, making this move a bit of a gamble for Baltimore.

At the same time, Irvin can be a longer term option for the Orioles. He has four years of team control remaining, and if he is able to perform as a middle of the rotation arm, he would be a major boost for the Orioles rotation.

Virbitsky was not one of the A's top prospects but he is an intriguing arm nonetheless. Although he is projected to be a reliever, the 6'7" righty has done an excellent job in generating strikeouts and commanding an arsenal fronted by a strong curve and a lower 90s fastball. He posted a 4.63 ERA and a 1.314 WHiP in his 126.1 innings, striking out 140 batters with 30 walks.

Hernaiz had been the Orioles 16th best prospect at the time of the trade. An athletic infielder with high energy and a good motor, he is projected to do a bit of everything despite not having a particularly standout tool. He posted a .273/.341/.438 batting line in his 452 plate appearances across three levels, hitting 12 homers and 21 doubles while stealing 32 bases.

While Hernaiz may seem to be a relatively disappointing return for Irvin, he may be the best that the A's could get. Irvin is still a bit of a risk which will limit his return. Hernaiz, meanwhile, should develop into a solid utitily option and make his debut by the end of the 2024 season.

The Oakland A's are continuing their teardown. Cole Irvin is the latest player to be heading elsewhere as he has been traded to the Orioles.

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