Baltimore Orioles: Hot Stove suggestions for left-handed bats
The Baltimore Orioles have a problem that should be relatively easy to remedy. This problem was shared by Dan Duquette in an interview on MLB Radio Network on Sirius Radio on December 10.
The problem for the Baltimore Orioles is a heavy right-handed lineup. The team needs left-handed batters and a left-handed pitcher.
Duquette mentioned in the interview that he would like to find either an experienced left-handed outfielder or a possible DH with a left-handed bat. Fortunately, there are plenty of them available in this Hot Stove season.
Minimal number of left-handed hitters
On the 40-man roster, the Orioles have three left-handed batters and only one is an experienced starter. Chris Davis bats from the left and so do Chance Sisco and Jaycob Brugman. Anthony Santander is a switch-hitter. Of these four players, Davis is the only one who has a sure spot on the roster when the 2018 season begins.
A few inexpensive free agents
There are several players who have either a left-handed or switching-hitting bat who can patrol the outfield or serve as a DH. One of those is Carlos Santana, who was the DH with the Cleveland Indians for many years. While he isn’t an outfielder, he can play first base and catch and hit 20+ home runs each year. He made $12 million in his final season with the Indians, but could probably be had for less in 2018, especially after the Indians did not re-sign him.
Another, less expensive left-handed bat can be found by Tyler Collins, who moved back and forth between the Detroit Tigers and their Triple-A squad. Collins is a speedy outfielder and his left-handed bat can come through in clutch situations. He’s not a massive home run hitter, but he could be a diamond in the rough for a team willing to spend time on him.
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Michael Saunders is another experienced outfielder with a left-handed bat. He has up and down seasons (kind of like the Orioles) and has an All-Star season under his belt. In 2016, he hit 24 home runs with the Blue Jays. He could be a health risk, but if he’s just DHing, he could be an asset.
The best free agent fit
The best fit for the Orioles is still Carlos Gonzalez. He’s a real lefty and he can hit for power, consistently. He has played all but one season in Colorado, so he knows how to guard the outfield in a hitter-friendly park. And, he knows how to hit the ball out in a hitter-friendly park. Along with a career slash of .288/.346/.511, he is a guy that fans can get behind. He may not be the least expensive option out there, after making $20 million with the Rockies in 2017. But, he would certainly be a positive addition to the Orioles and could help them contend.
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The solution to the Orioles need for a left-handed batter is out there. Duquette just has to make the right decision and spend a little money to get him. Gonzalez would be the best fit, but the O’s may not want to spend what he wants. There are less expensive options, but they are less expensive for several reasons.