The Baltimore Orioles will be having an press conference this morning at 9:30 (carried live on MASN) in Sarasota to introduce Ubaldo Jimenez as their newest addition. Almost as soon as the Jimenez signing became official rumors started popping up to the effect that the O’s were still interested in Kendrys Morales or Nelson Cruz. Rumor has it that Buck Showalter is interested in an everyday DH, and either one of them would come to Baltimore with the understanding that they wouldn’t see much action in the field. Going in, the O’s already had a fierce battle (which would probably ensue in a platoon situation) for left field; where would signing a DH leave that?
To answer the question right off the bat, it would probably make that battle all the more interesting in all phases of the game. The Orioles come into camp with Nolan Reimold, David
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Lough, Francisco Peguero, and Henry Urrutia all jockeying for the position. As of right now, I suspect that the Birds can carry two of those four on the 25-man roster come Opening Day. Whomever those two would in theory be, they would be platooned between DH and left field. Obviously the other two would head to Norfolk for “extra seasoning,” but would be a phone call away if needed.
But if suddenly the DH slot is filled everyday by someone such as Morales or Cruz, the Orioles might only have room for one of those players. Keep in mind that I say all of this not knowing how Showalter and Dan Duquette will “manipulate” the roster come the end of camp; they seem to find ways to stash guys here and there, so it’s entirely possible that they would find a way to keep more than one of those four. However what such a signing would do is simply make every play in all facets of the game count for more. If anything defense would vouch for more in each of those guys given the fact that whomever he is would probably be out there everyday.
Again keep in mind that signing one of the aforementioned free agents doesn’t mean that the Orioles couldn’t keep a combination of those guys; it would simply make it tougher for them. Obviously the O’s are invested somewhat in Nolan Reimold given the number of chances he’s had and the number of injury issues that have popped up with him over the years. However the same could be said of David Lough, for whom the Orioles traded in December and who’s under team control until 2020. Urrutia still has minor league options, and Peguero is actually signed to a minor league deal.
Ultimately I think that signing Morales or Cruz would make the Orioles better in two ways. It would give them a pretty large bat as their everyday DH, and it would ensure that they’re getting a guy as their everyday left fielder that’s probably the best in the field (and at the plate). Speaking for myself, I’m just glad that I’m not one of the people that has to make the decision.