Angels turn Ortiz into ex-first-rounder

By Jim Callis
December 14, 2004

After declining an option on Ramon Ortiz and considering nontendering him, the Angels exchanged him for a former first-round pick on Tuesday. The Reds gave up righthander Dustin Moseley for Ortiz, who will move into their rotation after falling out of Anaheim’s.

Ortiz, 31, won 44 games from 2001-03 but dropped to a swingman role in 2004, when he went 5-7, 4.43 in 34 games (14 starts). He had an 82-38 strikeout-walk ratio in 128 innings as opponents batted .280 with 18 homers. Though he has good stuff with a low- to mid-90s fastball plus a slider that’s tough at times, he hasn’t lived up the Pedro Martinez comparisons that were fashionable when he was coming up from the minors. Like Martinez, Ortiz is a short Dominican, but he lacks life on his fastball and doesn’t get a good downward plane on his pitches. He made $3,266,667 in 2004, the final season of a three-year, $7.25 million contract. That deal included a 2005 option for $5.5 million, but the Angels bought him out for $100,000. He’s eligible for arbitration, though the Reds are expected to try to sign him before going through that process. In 157 big league games, Ortiz has gone 59-49, 4.60.

Moseley, 22, was a supplemental first-round pick (34th overall) out of an Arkansas high school in 2000. He’s a finesse pitcher who relies on locating his 88-92 mph fastball, cutter, curveball and changeup. He doesn’t have a true out pitch, which limits his ceiling. Lower-back problems cost him a couple of starts in 2004, when he went 5-6, 3.86 in 20 starts between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville. He had an 88-44 K-BB ratio in 119 innings, while opponents hit .252 with 11 homers. His career record in the minors is 33-32, 3.71 in 98 starts.