Reliever Paul Fry has emerged as a valuable trade chip for the Orioles.
The left-hander has taken over the role as closer and has become one of the club’s most dependable pitchers out of the bullpen.
“I’m going to try to match up as best as I can, but Paul has definitely worked his way into somebody that could pitch the ninth inning for us,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
Fry is 0-1 with a 1.93 ERA in 24 games (23.1 innings) this season. He has not allowed a run in his past six appearances (7.1 innings). He has given up just three hits with 10 strikeouts and three walks during that stretch. He picked up his second save of the season June 4 against the Cleveland Indians.
Acquired from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for an international signing bonus slot on April 14, 2017, Fry had a chance to learn from veterans like Zack Britton and Darren O’Day as he broke into the big leagues. Though he’s fully aware that his name will inevitably surface during trade talks, Fry is just focused on pitching well.
“Whatever is going to happen is going to happen,” Fry said. “I’m just trying to go out there and do my job every day for the Orioles. What I learned from those guys is just how they carried themselves — the routines that they had, the way they went about their business every day, the way they approached the game in the bullpen from the fifth inning on. That’s when you have to be ready as a late-inning reliever.”
In 2019, he led the Orioles with 66 appearances, tied for fifth-most among left-handed pitchers in the American League. Fry allowed 11 of 43 inherited runners to score (25.6 percent), the eighth-lowest percentage in the AL. His 43 inherited runners were ninth most in the league.
In last year’s shortened season, he had a career-best 11.86 strikeouts per nine innings. He also struck out at least one batter in a career-high 13-straight games, and opponents hit .089 (4-for-45) with two strikes.
Fry is happy to be contributing to the Orioles’ rebuilding effort.
“It’s a rebuild, but things will turn around soon and we are working hard every day,” Fry said. “I think we are going to hit a turning point soon.”
However, he might be a solution for a contending club with the July 30 trade deadline looming. Fry, who turns 29 in July, has three years of club control remaining.
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