Baltimore Orioles: Who’s on first?


I know…real original title! However anytime I have the option of tipping my cap to the greatest slapstick comedy routine of all time, I’ll take it! With Mark Reynolds‘ contract option not being picked up the other day, there’s a chance that the Baltimore Orioles will have a new first baseman in 2013. Note that I said a chance – the Orioles could still go to arbitration with Reynolds and/or sign him to a new contract. There’s a lot of time between now and Spring Training, however at some point both sides will have a decision to make.

For conversation’s sake let’s assume that the Orioles don’t bring Reynolds back; they’ll need a first baseman, right? Who will that be? (The proper answer is “yes” assuming we’re still talking about Abbot & Costello’s Who’s on First?!) This link will bring you to a page published by MLB Trade Rumors regarding free agents. None of them really jumps out at me per se, with the exception of maybe Adam LaRoche. I suspect that LaRoche is going to stay in Washington, however I’ve also heard some rumblings that Boston might be interested in him. LaRoche won the gold glove in the National League in 2012 for first base and he can also hit the ball out of the ballpark, however again I think that the Orioles’ chances of getting him are probably slim. My money says that while he tests the free agent market he ultimately stays in DC.

Courtesy of Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The other option is that the Orioles commit to giving Joe Mahoney an extended look at first in 2013. Here’s the issue with that however; if he ends up not working out say in Spring Training, they’re almost stuck with him. Obviously there would be guys such as Wilson Betemit that could step in and play, however I suspect that most Orioles fans aren’t liking that as a backup plan. At that point they would be stuck with looking at trades for a first baseman, and it’s doubtful that the Orioles could get one without giving up something of value in return from their farm system. Chris Davis also remains an option, and keep in mind that the Orioles originally obtained him to be a first baseman. However his glove was unimpressive last year in Spring Training as well as in the regular season before Reynolds move over there. However again, he’s an option.

I’ve made it clear in this column that I think the Orioles would be well served by bringing Mark Reynolds back as the starting first baseman in 2013. Obviously his .221 average and his strikeouts aren’t going to blow people away, however we know the guy has a great amount of power (when he does get hold of one) and his glove at first base down the stretch was about as key for the Orioles in 2012 as anything. J.J. Hardy owes part of his gold glove to Mark Reynolds’ glove at first base, and he’d probably be the first one to tell you that. However this is where the business of baseball comes in; similar to Adam LaRoche in Washington, Reynolds might very well want to test the free agent market (based more on his glove than his bat). He’s stated on numerous occasions that he likes Baltimore as well as the Orioles, and that he’d be interested in staying. Time will tell.