O's swing trade, land Eveland from Dodgers
Lefty to compete for rotation spot during Spring Training
DALLAS -- With time ticking down and executives, reporters and scouts packing their bags to depart baseball's annual Winter Meetings, the Orioles pulled off a last-minute move in acquiring left-hander Dana Eveland from the Dodgers early Thursday morning.
"He has got himself on track to compete for a starting job in Spring Training," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of Eveland, whose departure netted the Dodgers a pair of Minor Leaguers in pitcher Jarret Martin and outfielder Tyler Henson.
"We think the price was reasonable to add a pitcher of his caliber to our team, and he has experience in the big leagues. You can look around in the book for left-handed pitchers that won 15 games [combined in Triple-A and the Majors] last year and it's a short list. So that was appealing to us."
What was also appealing to the Orioles was Eveland's relative durability. The 28-year-old lefty eclipsed the 180-innings mark last season, and the hope is he will help stabilize a Baltimore starting rotation that pitched the fewest innings in the Major Leagues last season.
"I became a much smarter pitcher last year, I was starting to figure it out," said Eveland, who also credits having his elbow cleaned out last winter for helping clean up his mechanics. "I had a couple things go good for me last year and kind of figured out how to locate my sinker and keep the ball on the ground.
"I was pitching at [Dodgers Triple-A affiliate] Albuquerque for most of the season, and if the ball goes in the air, there's a good chance it's a home run. I think it benefited me to pitch there. It's one of the toughest places to pitch in all of baseball. I learned a lot of things there."
Owning a career 19-24 record with a 5.52 ERA in parts of seven Major League seasons, Eveland was signed to a split contract by the Dodgers last season, and he spent most of 2011 with Albuquerque before earning a September callup. He performed well for the Dodgers down the stretch, going 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in five big league starts, but Los Angeles' acquisition of starters Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano had Eveland projected as a non-tender candidate.
While Duquette declined to speculate on Eveland's contract status, he did mention that the lefty -- who is arbitration-eligible -- gives the organization what it covets most: strength in numbers.
"He's a credible Major League pitcher and he gives us some more depth," Duquette said. "All things considered, we think there's some value there for Dana to help our ballclub."
"Whatever they really want me to do, I'm more than willing to do whatever," said Eveland, who is in his seventh organization in as many seasons. "I'd just like to get an opportunity to pitch in the big leagues and prove that I'm good enough to pitch in the big leagues for an entire season."
To make room for Eveland on Baltimore's 40-man roster, right-hander Willie Eyre was designated for assignment.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.