With Chris Davis going to the DL this past weekend, the Baltimore Orioles find themselves in a bit of a pickle. First off let’s be clear; Davis will return this season, and sooner rather than later at that. He’s eligible to come off the disabled list on Sunday, May 11th, a day on which the O’s are at home against Houston. However while he’s stated that he won’t expound on the severity of Davis’ injury, Buck Showalter appears to be skeptical as to whether or not Davis will truly be able to play that day. Again, this is not to say that he’s going to be out for a long period of time, but May 11th might be pushing it.
So the question is whether or not the Birds should pick up another first baseman. Incidentally
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that’s probably a two-part question; the first part is whether or not they could make due with what they have. The answer to that in my view is not really. Bt that, I mean that I’m not sure I’d want Nick Markakis as the everyday first baseman. This is not a reflection of Markakis as much as it is of the position. The footwork and necessary skill is just different than what he’s used to in right field. However could Ryan Flaherty not play first on a semi-regular basis?
And the answer to that is sure, why not? Notice that I said a semi-regular basis; by that, I mean that if Davis ends up being out of the lineup for any significant amount of time, the Birds might need to consider alternate arrangements. The botched rundown on Sunday against Kansas City shows this. The good part about Flaherty is that he’s a natural infielder and he can play all of the positions. However the Orioles would also then sacrifice some offense as well. And that’s nothing against Ryan Flaherty; the fact is that his bat isn’t what Davis’ is.
Kendrys Morales is still out there as a free agent, and of course he’s a first baseman. However signing a guy for the remainder of the season probably isn’t the way to go unless Davis is looking at being out for two months plus. So the Birds find themselves in a bit of a “situation.” I mentioned this over the weekend, but they’re going to have to make another roster decision tomorrow when Troy Patton returns from his suspension. Unfortunately when a guy is suspended he doesn’t get the benefit of rehab starts in the minors; it’s either put him on the 25-man roster now or cut him. So presumably a member of the Orioles’ bullpen will be headed to the minors after tonight’s game.
The big question hanging over the Orioles today is whether or not Manny Machado will join the team tonight or this weekend. Frederick’s game yesterday was rained out, so Machado didn’t get the option for a fourth rehab start. My personal opinion is that Machado is ready to come back (both health and baseball-wise), and that quite frankly it’s no coincidence that the O’s haven’t made a corresponding roster move after sending Davis to the DL. So let’s put it this way; if the O’s don’t activate Machado today, someone will have to come up from the minors.
The O’s are supposed to open up a short two-game set with Pittsburgh at Camden Yards tonight, with Chris Tillman taking the mound against Pittsburgh’s Charlie Morton. However the entire series needs a weather permitting moniker on it, as they’re calling for buckets of rain all week in the mid-Atlantic region. It’s unclear if the teams might try to play a doubleheader on Thursday if both games are rained out, or how that could work, however given that this is Pittsburgh’s only visit to Baltimore this year I suspect that they’ll wait as long as possible to cancel both games. Needless to say, if there appears to be a window of opportunity to play somewhere between five and nine innings, I suspect they’ll do it.