Baltimore Orioles: Two New Intriguing Middle Infield Options
By Nick Stevens
The Baltimore Orioles want to add a middle infielder this offseason. Will they turn to one of these recently non-tendered options?
With Jonathan Villar now out of the picture, the Baltimore Orioles need help up the middle and a versatile infielder who can flash the leather is on the short shopping list for Mike Elias as he prepares for this offseason’s Winter Meetings in San Diego next week.
At the moment, the only middle infielders on the 40-man roster are Hanser Alberto, Pat Valaika, Richie Martin, and Stevie Wilkerson. Alberto will start somewhere, Valaika has posted a wRC+ of 34 and 9 in each of his last two big league seasons, Martin seems likely to spend 2020 developing in the minor leagues, and I’m not convinced Wilkerson is on the Opening Day roster.
Unfortunately, anyone added before the start of the 2020 season isn’t going to be much of an upgrade, but this is the current state of the Baltimore Orioles. Winning baseball games isn’t on the list of short term goals, neither is paying baseball players who hit 24 home runs and steal 40 bases, but enough of that.
We discussed three middle infield options immediately after the World Series, which you can read here. Two of these options are still on the table, but it appears that Jose Iglesias won’t be a target for the Orioles who believe him to be a clubhouse distraction.
We also discussed the possibility of former Chicago White Sox infielder Yolmer Sanchez, who is my personal pick for who the Orioles should bring in. I’m a sucker for elite fielding shortstops who can’t hit, seriously. It’s a lot like my love for random relievers who no one has ever heard of.
With a new group of options hitting the free agent market at Monday’s non-tender deadline, it’s only right we look through these new options and see if anyone sticks out. We found two names to discuss, but first, let’s address the Addison Russell possibility.
No. Absolutely not. From purely a baseball standpoint, Russell makes all the sense in the world. Sign him for dirt cheap, put him in a hitter’s park, and watch him come back to life at the plate. But this is about more than just baseball. Thanks for starting this firestorm, Buster Olney.
Let’s look at the two options we like among the group of recently non-tendered middle infielders, starting with a guy who doesn’t strike out that much.