Baltimore Orioles: Clevenger worth keeping on roster


Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The only consolation Orioles’ fans can take from the team’s horrid start to the season is the rest of the division’s similar rocky start. At 5 games under .500 a team would normally be a longshot at best to make a run at the division. Fortunately for the Orioles, that record this season leaves them only 4.5 games under the division leading Yankees.

Although with each win the Orioles shine a glimmer of hope that they’re on the verge of making a run, the offensive woes give the impression they’re still a ways away from competing at a high-level. Part of their struggles, but certainly not all, can be blamed on the mounting stack of injuries to several key players. The Orioles should get one of the players back this week in Matt Wieters

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Although Matt Wieters has never been known as an offensive juggernaut, considering the Orioles have four players in their lineup batting over .260, his bat is obviously a welcome addition. However, his return does leave the Orioles with some difficult roster decisions for a roster that particularly lacking in flexibility.

With Wieters addition, the Orioles obviously have to make room on the roster, and the most likely replacement choice would be Steve Clevenger. However, it may not be the best one for the team at the moment. 

In four games with the Orioles, Clevenger has 5 hits in 11 ABs. Admittedly that is a small sample size, but in AAA this season he has hit .354. It’s true that AAA numbers don’t always transfer to the big leagues. However, for a team mired in a season long slump, that’s a lot of potential offense to be wasting in AAA.

It’s obvious the Orioles wouldn’t want to demote Caleb Joseph, and carrying three catchers on a roster could potentially lead to less lineup flexibility. However, Clevenger has experience at both third and first, which could prove valuable if Manny Machado or Chris Davis needed rest on a given night.

Also, Matt Wieters has struggled in recent years batting from the left-side. Having a left-handed bat on the bench, one that can also catch, could provide the Orioles with the advantage of occasionally resting both Wieters and Joseph against tough right-handed pitchers.

It would be a tough juggling act for the Orioles to keep Clevenger on the roster. However, for a team which averaged around three runs a game in May, it may be a risk worth taking.

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