Ned Colletti couldn’t come up with Cliff Lee so instead, today he adds a different southpaw pitcher in the form of George Sherrill; in the process giving up prospects in the form of third baseman Joshua Bell and right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson.
For now, Sherrill becomes the third lefty in the Dodgers pen – joining Hong-Chih Kuo and Brent Leach – but you would have to expect Sherrill to step into a role similar to Kuo’s of last season. The trade ends Sherrill’s year and two-thirds run as the Orioles closer. Sherrill posted impressive numbers this season, but he’s absolutely death to left-handed batters. In 50 plate appearances this year lefties have an OPS against of .356; in 72 plate appearances last year an OPS of .535; and in 106 plate appearances in 2006 an OPS of .529. Sherrill throws a fastball in the high-80s/low-90s along with a slider that sits in the mid-70s and generates a fair amount of whiffs.
In Bell, the Orioles receive a 22-year-old switch-hitting third baseman with impressive power potential. His ISO in Double-A this season is .203, but there are some questions as to whether he’s going to stick at third for the long haul or move to a corner – either first or left/right field. Bell has had issues with strikeouts in the past which reached their apex in 2008. His walk rate has grown impressive and his strikeout numbers are down for this year, so he’s definitely an interesting player to watch for in the next few years.
Johnson is a right-handed starter with impressive numbers who has split the year between High and Double A. His numbers are pretty impressive, striking out 117 in about 107 innings so far, but his stuff rates just above average. His control and command seem to be pretty good and whatever he’s doing, whether deception or otherwise, has worked to date.
The two seem like a nice coup by the Orioles in exchange for a two years and a third of Sherrill as they continue to build with impressive young talent.