BIRD’S HOUSE: Who’s that out there in left field?

Written by on February 12, 2014 in Orioles, Sports - No comments

Nelson Cruz would be an expensive addition to the Orioles. - Photo by Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve been following along this off season, you’ve probably noticed Baltimore’s name thrown around as a potential suitor for some big free agent players like Bronson Arroyo, Fernando Rodney, and Nelson Cruz, just to name a few. While the O’s have missed out on Arroyo and Rodney already, they will also most likely miss out on Cruz, which is fine by me, but that begs the question, who will play left field for the Orioles this year? Well, I’m not sure.

Currently the O’s have David Lough, Nolan Reimold, Henry Urrutia, Steve Pearce, and Delmon Young as potential candidates. It should make for an interesting spring training season.

Lough came over from Kansas City via trade in December and has experience playing all three outfield spots, which gives him a leg up over the other players. Last year in 96 games for the Royals, Lough batted .286 with five home runs and 33 runs batted in. He’s not going to set the world on fire with his power, but he is a solid hitter. Lough also spent time in AAA Omaha last year and batted .338 in 154 at-bats, so he knows how to hit.

Reimold has been around the Orioles organization and has shown promise before injuries set him back a few times. The most action he has seen was back in 2009 when he played in 104 games and batted .279 with 15 HR and 45 RBI. He has played well at the AAA level, batting .274 through 164 total games with 25 HR and 86 RBI over 585 at-bats. If he can stay healthy, he has a shot to potentially be either the left fielder or DH.

Urrutia has shown he can hit at all levels of the minors, batting .365 in AA Bowie last year before batting .316 in AAA Norfolk. While on the Orioles in 2013, Urrutia batted a respectable .276, but in 58 at-bats, he did not draw one walk and had no idea on how to hit left-handed pitching (1 hit in 7 AB for a .143 average).
Pearce is on his third team in the last two years, and while I think he will probably do well in spring training, like last year, he is not the solution.

Delmon Young was an interesting acquisition by Baltimore this off season. Young was the first overall pick in the 2003 draft and has shown his potential. In 2010 while playing for the Minnesota Twins, he batted .298 with 21 HR and 112 RBI. While in Detroit in 2012, Young had a decent year, batting .267 with 18 HR and 74 RBI. The issue with him has been his attitude, so hopefully the fact that he is now on his fourth team in two years will light a fire under his rear to get his act together, because the talent is there.

Personally, I would rather the Orioles use one of these guys in left than waste money on Nelson Cruz, who was suspended for performance-enhancing drugs in 2013. I’m sure that strategy makes Peter Angelos’ wallet happy.

by Andy Mindzak

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