HHP: Log Jam in the Outfield

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Pic: Mallory Pente

Last year I could not imagine this problem.  This year we have a surplus of outfielders and will soon need to option, trade or waiver some decent player or players.

Last year our overall outfield defense was poor.  Jones is loved but is an average defender in CF.  He can not do it all and has rightly complained about having to cover more ground than he should have to.  This has been addressed by bringing in more speed with some decent veteran players and they WILL be part of the roster this year.  There is also the need for a speedy lead-off batter who is a threat to steal bases and serve as a pinch runner.  This gives the O’s a chance to play small ball and win some games they they couldn’t touch last year.    Here is what I see our situation

Starters:   TWO:   Jones in center and Trumbo/Mancini in right.

 On the roster as lead-off:   Gentry, Smith and Rickard.    Besides lead-off, these people can back up center field, add at least ONE more speedy outfielder to help Jones, be used as a pinch-runner or base stealer in close games.  I see a two headed, mashing monster in Trumbo/Mancini at DH and right field most of the time.

So that gives us SIX 25-man roster spots for 4 positions (3 outfield and the DH).

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The we then have the following viable outfielders in the organization also in the organization:

Kim ——  good batting average and OBP but not a lot of power.  A smart, good-eye batter, who works pitch counts.  Sure hands in the outfield BUT not a lot of speed on the basepaths or the outfield.

Santander —   a rule 5 pick.  (the organization loves these to make up for a poor minor league system and that has a lot of weight in the Warehouse).  Also not a bad player and has some emergency utility.

Bourn-–    a speedy veteran, who played well here and is a back up for Gentry/Smith/Rickard if they faulter or have an early season injury, although he may leave the organization if he doesn’t move up.

Dickerson-   A speedy veteran, who has been injuried a lot in his career, but showed quality in spring training.  He likely will be a quality available call-up with much the same role and profile as Bourn.

 

Kim looks like the odd man out.  He is a likeable, good on-base guy, but his lack of speed and (debatable perceived problem with left handed pitching) hurts his usefulness with the O’s.

If I were running the show I would be looking at the upcoming crunch at the 25 man roster spots, when we need 5 starting pitchers.  I would look for a trade for Kim- maybe a west coast team with better time connections to Korea (for his fan base and filling stadium seats). He is a free agent next year.  Maybe a trade for a promising minor league pitcher is a target?   He IS a legit major leaguer and a quite decent player, but we might give up something valuable AND get something valuable in return.