A standout utility player with the Atlanta Braves, Charlie Culberson is a solid fit for the Baltimore Orioles.
The non-tendering of Culberson was a pretty unpopular move among Braves fans. Culberson has been a valuable utility man for the Braves over the last two years and seems like a perfect candidate to fill out numerous different rosters across the league as that 26th man in 2020.
Culberson is a bit older than most of the other options we have discussed (turns 31 early next season), but he has experience playing every position on the field except for catcher and centerfielder and his best defensive numbers came while playing shortstop, according to Fangraphs’ advanced numbers.
In 2018, Culberson posted a wRC+ of 108 across 113 games, hitting .270 with a .326 OBP, 12 home runs, and 18 doubles. His 2019 numbers took a dip, but many of his underlying numbers showed positive changes that have the potential to turn things around, if more tweaks are made.
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Despite hitting .259 with a .294 OBP, a 30% strikeout rate, 4% walk rate, and five home runs in 104 games (144 plate appearances), Culberson significantly lowered his groundball rate (52% down to 44%), started lifting the ball more than he ever has in his career, and increased his average exit velocity on batted balls by more than 3 mph.
He’s an intriguing option for his extreme versatility and veteran clubhouse presence. His reputation as a clutch bench piece and standout teammate in Atlanta should be worth something to a young, rebuilding program like Baltimore.
Both Peraza and Culberson could fall within the Orioles price range, but do they bring the quality of defense the Orioles need? Hopefully, we see some action next week at the Winter Meetings and a few roster questions are finally answered.