Baltimore Orioles Claim Travis Lakins, Designate Stevie Wilkerson For Assignment
Stevie Wilkerson has been designated for assignment by the Baltimore Orioles to make room for their latest waiver claim.
In a Friday afternoon roster move, the Baltimore Orioles have claimed RHP Travis Lakins off waivers from the Chicago Cubs and designated utility man Stevie Wilkerson for assignment.
This doesn’t mean the “Dr. Poo Poo” era is over in Baltimore, but teams are now free to claim the 28-year-old switch-hitting infielder/outfielder/pitcher/any other role you can think of.
It’s not surprising that Wilkerson has been designated for assignment, his Opening Day roster spot was far from secured this season, even with the addition of a 26th roster slot on the active roster. Despite his versatility and the novelty of his pitching performances last season, Wilkerson added very little value at the plate and was a below-average defender in the field.
In 119 games played last season, Wilkerson slashed .225/.286/.383 with 10 home runs and a 30% strikeout rate. He was worth -0.6 Wins Above Replacement and posted a wRC+ of 74, 26 points below league average.
Becoming the first position player in Major League Baseball history to record a save and making one of the more unbelievable home run robbing catches at Fenway Park weren’t enough to keep Wilkerson on the 40-man roster, even on a Baltimore Orioles team destined to lose 100+ games for a third-straight season.
If we have seen Wilkerson in an Orioles uniform for the final time, thanks for the memories. However, odds seem high that we will pass through waivers and return to the organization, if he accepts the assignment.
The Orioles are looking for pitchers who can come up, make a few starts or work out of the bullpen, and help get this team through the 2020 season while a number of Top 30 prospects continue to season in Triple-A Norfolk. Conveniently, here’s what Fangraphs recently said about Travis Lakins, the making taking Wilkerson’s spot on the 40-man roster.
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“Every team needs a ton of pitching depth to get through a season, and these guys all profile as either up and down spot starter types or bullpen pieces who have some holes. Lakins has 40 FV stuff — cutter, curveball, a lesser change — but a long injury history and fringe control.”
A 25-year-old right-handed pitcher, Lakins made 16 appearances with the Boston Red Sox last season, working a 3.86 ERA and 1.41 WHIP across 23.1 innings. He struck out 18 and walked 10, allowing just one home run. It was his first action in the big leagues as a professional.
A sixth-round draft pick of the Red Sox out of Ohio State in 2015, Lakins has surrendered 19 home runs in 260 career minor league innings, an impressive total and certainly something that attracted the Orioles to him when his name came across the waiver wire.
Lakins was traded from Boston to Chicago for cash considerations just a few days ago. Chicago’s attempt to pass him through waivers and past the eye of Mike Elias didn’t work. Lakins now has an opportunity to make the major league club in Baltimore, likely as a reliever.
Does this mean the Orioles are done adding pitching options ahead of spring training? Probably not. A veteran arm like Andrew Cashner who can compete for a rotation spot still remains a possibility.