The Baltimore Orioles designated Craig Gentry for assignment on Friday afternoon, clearing room on the roster for outfielder Joey Rickard
In two seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, Craig Gentry hit .265/.326/.362 with just 3 home runs and 17 stolen bases. Throughout his career, Gentry has a below-average .672 OPS and almost all of his value is derived from his defense.
He does hold minimal value as a fourth outfielder and could have potentially been a useful defense-only piece on a playoff roster, but the O’s weren’t able to find a buyer for him before Friday’s waiver-trade deadline.
Joey Rickard has split time between the Orioles and Triple-A Norfolk this year. He’s not a great hitter but he can be used in a daily role and provide innings for the Orioles down the stretch.
Rickard has hit well at lower levels in his career but in three partial seasons in the majors, he has a .249/.296/.374 triple-slash line with a 22% strikeout rate and a dismal 5.4% walk rate.
Needless to say, we’re much more optimistic about Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays than we are about Rickard, but Gentry hasn’t been worthy of a roster spot for a while now and at least the front office has recognized that.
Orioles Lose to Royals on Friday night, 9-2
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After his call-up, Rickard got the start in left-field tonight, going 1-3 in a losing effort by the Orioles. Coming off a rare series sweep, the O’s started off strong on Friday night with a homer by Mullins in the top of the first. However, things fell apart shortly thereafter and they weren’t able to hold it together, losing 9-2 to the struggling Kansas City Royals.
Andrew Cashner wasn’t sharp on the mound, which has been an all too frequent occurrence this year. Cashner allowed 4 runs on 9 hits, two of which left the yard, and 3 walks to just 1 strikeout.
Cashner has never been a big strikeout pitcher, but his 15.8% strikeout rate is just dismal in today’s game.
He’s due $8 million in 2019 and has a vesting option for 2020 if he reaches 340 innings between this year and next; we have to assume the O’s are going to do everything in their power to ensure he doesn’t hit that 340-inning threshold.
September 1st Roster Expansion
In other news, rosters expand on Saturday and the Orioles are expected to make at least a couple additions to their major league roster. We should find out more soon, but there are a couple players we can expect to see in Baltimore in the next few days.
Outfielder Austin Hays has to be on the short-list. If Hays is healthy, he deserves the everyday at-bats more than Rickard does. Hays was selected to represent the O’s in the AFL this October, but he should be given every opportunity to succeed in Baltimore from this point forward.
Player development is vital at this stage in the O’s rebuild and the front office needs to let their best prospects play.
It would be surprising if Steve Wilkerson isn’t playing for the O’s in September if he’s healthy. Another AFL selection, Wilkerson has battled injuries all year, but he is a viable utility option for the Orioles at this point.
Chance Sisco is a work in progress but the only way he’s going to become a better hitter is to see major league pitching on a consistent basis.
Sisco is still just 23 years old so there’s plenty of time for development but the reps will only help him. Also there’s still a chance that the Orioles send Sisco to the AFL this year which would be a great opportunity for him.
And finally, there will surely be a pitcher or two added to the expanded roster, if only to help with the workload in the bullpen. Josh Rogers is expected to be shut down after his next start; someone will need to pitch those innings in September.
The Orioles are back at it tonight at 7:15 eastern. Dylan Bundy will take his 5.37 ERA to the mound to face the Royals, who counter with rookie right-hander Heath Fillmyer. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for another Mullins homer, and that the O’s can stave off another series loss for the time being.