Alexi Ogando Could be Worth a Gamble for the Royals
By David Hill
It took eight years in the minors before Alexi Ogando reached the major leagues in 2010. Originally signed by the Oakland A’s as an outfielder, Ogando was converted to a pitcher by the Rangers. That conversion truly began to click during the 2010 season, as he tore through the minors en route to reaching the majors in the middle of June.
Once in the major leagues, Ogando proved to be a very good pitcher for the Rangers. Sliding with ease from the starting rotation and the bullpen, Ogando produced a 26-13 record with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.136 WHiP. In his 381 innings, covering 156 appearances, including 48 starts, Ogando struck out 303 batters against 117 walks. He was certainly an interesting pitcher.
Then, injuries struck. Shoulder issues derailed Alexi Ogando in 2013, and he missed most of last season with an elbow injury. When Ogando did get on the mound in 2014, he results were less than stellar, as he went 2-3 with a 6.84 ERA and a 1.920 WHiP. That solid control completely disappeared last year, as Ogando wakled 15 batters in 22 innings.
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Not surprisingly, the Rangers decided to let Ogando test free agency instead of offering arbitration. Also unsurprisingly, quite a few teams are interested in the hard throwing righty, with approximately two dozen teams in attendance at his workout. According to Peter Gammons, scouts were impressed with his performance, particularly those for the Red Sox and Dodgers.
However, before proclaiming that Alexi Ogando is back and throwing large amounts of money his way, there are still concerns. According to Nick Cafardo, Ogando’s shoulder medicals are a mess. Ogando is also seeking a major league offer, which he may well get after his workout. However, with that injury history and his troublesome shoulder, that is hardly a given.
Should Ogando decide that, in all reality, a major league offer is not in the cards, then he would be a perfect fit for the Royals as a reclamation project. After all, Dayton Moore did sign the oft injured Ryan Madson to a minor league contract. Why not do the same for Ogando? A minor league deal, an invite to Spring Training and several tiered incentives should he pitch at the major league level may be a viable option.
Given the success the Royals have had with their pitchers over the past few seasons, and the potential to play for a winning ballclub, Ogando may be interested in coming to Kansas City. If all other things are equal, that new winning atmosphere and the success the Royals have had with their relievers may well be a draw for Ogando.
Alexi Ogando has had enough success to be an intriguing target. If he is willing to accept a minor league deal, he could be a worthwhile gamble for the Royals.