The off-season always officially begins for Dan Duquette after the holidays and this is year was no different as he traded away RHP Yovani Gallardo for RF Seth Smith today. At first glance this looks like a great deal for the Orioles for several reasons.

First and foremost, it gets rid of Gallardo’s $11,000,000 salary and $2 million buyout (His 2018 salary would be $13 million). Gallardo was nothing short of a disaster last season for the Orioles after he showed up with a mid-80s fastball in spring training, pitched poorly in April (7.00 ERA in 4 starts), sent to the DL for about six weeks, then returning to pitch to an unimpressive 5.13 ERA while AL batters OPS’d .808 off him.

Gallardo will go down as one of Duquette’s bigger mistakes, especially since he cost the team a first round pick last year. Of course if Duquette doesn’t trade away Zach Davies for a 1/2 season of Gerardo Parra on a .500 team in 2015 he wouldn’t have needed to sign Gallardo, but I digress.

Either way, he’s gone and in return the Orioles get a Smith, a left-handed hitting platoon, defensively challenged rightfielder, who has a little pop and some on base ability (.342 OBP last year, .344 career). Considering the Orioles dire need for anyone who can get on base, Smith should be pretty good for this lineup, at least against right-handed pitching (.256/.351./431/.782 in 405 PAs against RHP).

With the addition of Smith, the Orioles current lineup against RHP would probably look something like this:

1. Kim – LF
2. Jones – CF
3. Machado – 3B
4. Davis – 1B
5. Smith – RF
6. Schoop – 2B
7. Castillo – C
8. Mancini – DH
9. Hardy – SS

This still leaves room for the Orioles to sign a DH since it appears the Orioles do not want to give Mancini the full-time gig at DH. Probably a good idea since he probably won’t be able to hit enough against right-handers to justify PAs at DH against them.

So who will the Orioles sign. You have to imagine Trumbo would still be in play here if the price is right and the fact that he hasn’t signed tells me he’s just hoping someone will get desperate for power and overpay him. If the Orioles can get Trumbo at something like 3 yrs at $40 million, i’d sign him up and put him at DH. Personally I still think Jose Bautista’s bat makes the most sense because of his on base ability, but the fact the Orioles would have to give up a pick for him before June 1st, and the fact that Duquette seems to thinks Orioles fans hate him so much they wouldn’t want him to be signed makes me think he won’t be signed by the O’s.

With or without Trumbo, this team will need a right-handed hitting outfielder since both Kim and Smith are platoon players (there is some thought to giving Kim more chances against lefties since he hit them in the Korean League, but knowing Buck, I doubt this will happen. Joey Rickard is the best bet to be the 4th outfielder and would platoon with Kim in leftfield. If Trumbo is full-time DH, the team still needs a right-handed platoon mate for Smith. In house options include 24-year old rule 5 pick Aneury Tavarez, a switch hitting outfielder who slashed .330/.374/.495/.869 at Double-A last year including a .321/.352/.429/.781 line against southpaws., and Dariel Alvarez who slashed .323/.338/.449/.787 last year in 133 PAs against AAA southpaws. One thing to remember is when Alvarez was in Double-A he slashed .352/.379/.509/.888 against southpaws and was only a year older.

The Orioles of course could look outside the organization to players like Angel Pagan, but he slashed just .266/.291/.426/.717 against southpaws last year. If Pagan was signed, he’d probably would be the full time left fielder, moving Kim to DH and Rickart to RF platoon. Pagan’s defense has slipped in center, but he probably would be ok in LF, and certainly an upgrade to Kim out there.

So I see this playing out one of two ways, Pagan signed for LF, Kim goes to DH, Mancini makes the team as the DH against lefties and. The other is Trumbo is resigned, becomes the full time DH, Rickart platoons in LF and Alvarez platoons in RF with his cannon arm.

Lineup with Pagan against lefties:

1. Pagan – LF
2. Jones – CF
3. Machado – 3B
4. Davis – 1B
5. Schoop – 2B
6. Castillo – C
7. Mancini – DH
8. Rickard – RF
9. Hardy – SS

Lineup if Trumbo resigned:

1. Rickard – LF
2. Jones – CF
3. Machado – 3B
4. Davis – 1B
5. Trumbo – DH
6  Schoop – 2B
7. Castillo – C
8. Alvarez – RF
9. Hardy – SS

If it’s me making the call, I’m resigning Trumbo now and going with lineup number 2.

What are you thoughts?

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Michael Williams
Michael Williams has been an Orioles fan since the sixties when his family moved from Reading Pa to York Pa. Also, the Phillies and 1964. His Grandfather got the Chef Boyardee box seats and Mike was hooked. Brooks Robinson calls him not a fan, but a friend. He has been a member of the Orioles Hangout since early in the New Millennium and Managing Editor since 2011. Or so it seems. He lives in Harrisburg PA, down by the river. Not currently in a van.