With only about 15 weeks until Opening Day for the Baltimore Orioles, Dan Duquette and staff have been making some noise with additions to the team’s roster in the past 48 hours. Yesterday, the team signed Athletics closer, Grant Balfour, to a two-year deal and today the Orioles filled another hole in the lineup when the O’s traded away Danny Valencia to the Royals for David Lough.
The signing of this versatile ball player should have Orioles fans excited. The reason why I say versatile is because, last year for the Royals, he played all three outfield positions. The Orioles were in a dire need of an outfielder with Nate McLouth signing with the Nationals last week and this Akron native was just what the O’s needed.
Last year while playing all three positions, Lough only committed two errors. Lucky for the Orioles, they were committed in center and right field. When in left field, which is where the O’s need him, he had a 1.000% fielding percentage. One thing in the field Lough can bring to the table that McLouth could not is a strong arm.
Last year, it appeared to me as though McLouth had trouble throwing the ball with velocity and distance. If everything I see in highlights from Lough is correct, he has a cannon for an arm and he is not afraid to lay out to make a highlight reel catch either.
His ability to be a reliable fielder is evident. The true question is: Can he hit?
The answer is a resounding yes. Last year, in his season debut with the Royals, he got two hits and drove in a run. He finished last year with a .286 BA and a .311 OBP in only 96 games played. Lough also racked up 33 RBIs last year as well. Royals fans approved of this rookie as did the rest of the baseball world with him finishing eighth in the voting for American League Rookie of the Year.
McLouth, last season, was more often than not the Orioles’ lead-off batter. Lough will more likely be placed near the bottom of the lineup, which would be nice considering the latter part of the order did not provide hits consistently last year. Lough along with some other young players, like Jonathan Schoop, will try to change that in the Orioles’ 60th season as an MLB organization.
With the addition of Lough, the left field position could be considered locked up. The only questions left as far as position players go are second base, catcher, and starting pitching of course.
And even though there is much work left to be done in the O’s front office, the transactions made in these past two days have Orioles fans taking a deep breath and a sigh of relief. It seemed as though Baltimore was getting rid of all their players and not interchanging the losses of Jim Johnson, Brian Roberts, and McLouth with anyone.
I believe in Dan Duquette and the system he has created these past two years in Baltimore. And I’d also like to welcome Lough to both the Baltimore and Orioles community as he will be well received by the city and the team. Nevertheless, Lough needs to change his twitter handle from @DLOUGHKC to something like @DLOUGHB-MORE (which I think will be happening very soon).