Orioles must keep Cedric Mullins on notice despite his talents

Baltimore's talented outfielder needs to be running out of chances to play every day.
Baltimore Orioles v Chicago White Sox
Baltimore Orioles v Chicago White Sox / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

For everything that has gone right for the Baltimore Orioles in 2024, all the way up to their new ownership that does seem committed to building a winner, not everything has gone to plan. Among the biggest issues that Baltimore is currently dealing with is the struggles of Cedric Mullins.

The most optimistic of Orioles fans will note that Mullins had nice game against the Rays on Sunday with a couple hits and a stolen base. However, the entire sum of Mullins' struggles dates back longer than just his slow start to the 2024 season, and it is time for Baltimore to start treating his scuffles honestly.

The Orioles simply can't wait around much longer for Cedric Mullins to figure things out

Look, no one disagrees that Mullins is a talented player who is beloved in the Orioles' clubhouse. Orioles beat writer Jacob Calvin Meyer put together a strong case for patience with Mullins recently, making those very arguments. Everyone wants Mullins to succeed and knows that when he is right, he is a game-changing talent on both sides of the ball.

The problem is that he is a player that very seldomly has everything clicking at the same time. The Gold Glove defense is a constant, but he has been an ordinary to below-average hitter the last two plus seasons since his breakout 2021 campaign. Mullins has consistently ranked as below average to poor when it comes to exit velocity, hard hit%, and barrels. It is hard to take advantage of what Mullins is really good at with that sort of batted ball profile.

Complicating matters is the fact that the Orioles have so many position players to find room for, between their young guys on the big league roster and prospects waiting in the upper levels of the minor leagues. Even taking into account Mullins' defensive value, which is real, the arguments for continuing to give Mullins playing time get less and less persuasive with every empty Heston Kjerstad trip to the bigs.

The days when you could have a defensive specialist who can't hit a lick in the lineup every day have waned over the last two decades. Guys have to contribute on both sides of the ball, and Baltimore needs to be willing to recognize that with Mullins at some point soon.

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