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IN “BREAKING BALLS” (6/9), the normally astute Eliot Cohen noted how teams sometimes exercise ill-advised “fiscal responsibility” at the expense of middle relievers. He implies that this was the reason that the Orioles did not offer Todd Frohwirth a 1994 contract, but I suspect the real reason was performance.

Frohwirth’s ERAs were 1.87 in 1991, 2.46 in 1992, and 3.83 in 1993, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio declined during those three years. After leaving the Orioles, he pitched 26-and-two-thirds innings in 1994 with the Red Sox, compiling a record of 0-3 and an ERA of 10.80.

These numbers suggest that rather than “fiscal responsibility,” the Orioles determined (correctly, in hindsight) that Frohwirth wasn’t an effective major-league pitcher anymore and let him leave.

Alexandria, Va., via the Internet