The Baltimore Orioles could perhaps make another double splash by signing free agent outfielder/first baseman Brandon Moss instead of re-signing Mark Trumbo.
Out of all the names I’ve mentioned as possible outfield options for the Baltimore Orioles the last few weeks, I failed to mention Brandon Moss. This was not an accident, I just could not see the Orioles signing another first base / designated hitter type considering the Orioles already have Chris Davis, Trey Mancini and Christian Walker to consider. I’ve also assumed the Orioles would re-sign Mark Trumbo.
Lately, I hear quite a bit of “noise” about Brandon Moss and the Baltimore Orioles. At first I dismissed it, but I feel this “energy” pulling me in, and I figured I should look at Moss as a possible option. I’ve now gone from dismissing the option to fully embracing it.
Looking at Moss, he is a left-handed hitter. With the Orioles recent acquisition of Seth Smith, the Birds outfield no longer “screams” for a left-handed hitter. Still, the roster could use another lefty considering Chris Davis, Hyun Soo Kim, Ryan Flaherty and Smith are the only left-handed hitters that are sure to make the 25-man roster. The Orioles could use another lefty.
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How would another left-handed hitting outfielder play into the Orioles outfield depth? I don’t think it could be done without another deal. In other words, if the Orioles went with Moss, I think they would still add another right-handed hitting outfielder. For example, if the Orioles added Moss, they may still go after a guy like Angel Pagan. That would give the Orioles 3 left-handed hitting outfielders (Kim, Smith, Moss) and 3 right-handed hitting outfielders (Rickard, Jones, Pagan (switch-hitter)).
This may sound like too many outfielders; however, I believe the Orioles would use Moss primarily as a designated hitter. They could then platoon Kim, Smith, Rickard and Pagan in left and right field.
I would like these 2 moves (signing Moss and Pagan) as it fills the Orioles roster needs while providing a lineup that gets on base at a higher rate.
As for Moss himself, I feel he would thrive in Camden Yards. While his career batting average is only .241, he has hit 123 home runs over the last 5 years. From 2012 through 2014, he had on base percentages of .358, .337 and .334. He would be playing in a home run hitters park. It would not surprise me to see Moss hit 30+ home runs and drive in 80+ runs. While these aren’t Trumbo numbers from 2016, I don’t feel Moss will strikeout 170 times a season. In addition, I don’t expect Trumbo to replicate his 2016 numbers. I see Moss as a great alternative to Mark Trumbo – but Moss would give the Birds the added advantage of being a left-handed batter.
Re-signing Mark Trumbo would mean that the Orioles forgo the 1st round draft pick they would receive if another team signed Trumbo. The Orioles may prefer to sign Moss and get the extra 1st round draft pick.
Of course, any talk of Moss as an option could be a ploy. Dan Duquette may want to float the idea that the Orioles prefer getting the extra draft pick only to push Trumbo into a more favorable deal for the Orioles.
I expect the next 2 weeks to be interesting for the Birds. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Orioles closed out their outfield and designated hitter needs in the next 15 days. Things can change quickly – we’ll see.