Baltimore Orioles: Re-signing Ryan Flaherty isn’t horrendous

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 05: Ryan Flaherty
FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 05: Ryan Flaherty /

The Baltimore Orioles are still open to a reunion with super utility man, Ryan Flaherty. Bringing him back to Baltimore would be favorable for many reasons.

One week remains until pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota. The Baltimore Orioles are still exploring the free agent market, trying to find the best players to improve the club. They’d prefer to acquire them without having to pay an arm and a leg, too.

Ryan Flaherty remains unsigned, and regarding improving the club, Flaherty could assist at multiple positions.

It’s been written all over the web, but most recently, Roch Kubatko reminded us of Dan Duquette’s comments at FanFest. Straight from Duquette, he said:

"“Ryan Flaherty’s a really dependable player. He was here for six years and every time that we thought about, ‘Oh, we’re going to replace Ryan Flaherty,’ we thought, ‘Well, we need two players to replace Ryan Flaherty.”"

It’s no surprise that Flaherty has earned respect around the organization. The hashtag, “#R3SPECT”, has been floating around for years now, so it must be safe to assume the fans like him too.

Flaherty is an upgrade over the projection

Roster Resource projects Engelb Vielma to be on the 25-man roster as the utility infielder. Remember, he was acquired via a trade with the San Francisco Giants, for a PTBNL.

Vielma, 23, has played six seasons with affiliates for the Minnesota Twins. Over 543 games, Vielma has appeared at second base, third base, and shortstop. Vielma does not have any experience in the majors.

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The Orioles plucked Flaherty from the Chicago Cubs organization in the 2011 Rule-5 Draft. Since the 2012 season, he’s appeared in 457 games, covering each position on the diamond, except for catcher. Even though as Roch notes, “Buck used him as a third catcher.”

Flaherty has never been known to have a power bat, but he’ll be able to get on-base here-and-there. His longest hitting streak is eight games, from June 18, 2013, to June 29, 2013.

Vielma is a career .256 hitter throughout six seasons in the minors, hitting just two homers and knocking in 149 runs.

It’s defense and durability that brings Flaherty back

There’s no doubt that Flaherty would come in handy in the event of a position player injury. Outside of his nagging shoulder injury last season and groin injury in 2015, Flaherty has been durable for the Orioles.

In the event of an injury, Flaherty could step in at third base for Tim Beckham. In 231 chances at the hot corner, Flaherty has committed 11 errors. Or, if Manny Machado goes down, he could fill in at shortstop as well. He’s had 173 chances there and has made only three errors.

Let’s not forget second base, in the event of an injury to Jonathan Schoop. With just six errors in 756 chances, Flaherty has proven he could be the starting second baseman on a daily basis.

There was even that lone pitching appearance on August 20, 2016, versus the Houston Astros. Flaherty came on to pitch the top of the ninth, trailing 10-to-2. He gave up a first-pitch home run to Jason Castro and a run-scoring double to Alex Bregman. His career ERA sits at 18.00, still lower than Jeremy Guthrie‘s comeback attempt.

Next: Baltimore Orioles Minors Monday: RH Pitcher David Hess

By no means am I saying Ryan Flaherty is the savior for the 2018 season. There are much bigger issues to address. However, in his time in Baltimore, he has shown he’s worth having on the bench, in the event of an unfortunate injury.