Orioles manager Buck Showalter hinted that a roster move could be made following yesterday’s game or later today. No announcement was forthcoming after a 4-1 loss to the Phillies. It must be happening while the team is in Boston.
The bullpen is housing three left-handers, which is unusual in a season when Richard Bleier often has been the lone guy. Tanner Scott rejoined him on May 9 while Darren O’Day went on the disabled list with a hyperextended right elbow. Donnie Hart was called up on Sunday while the club optioned Jimmy Yacabonis.
Showalter and crew have reexamined the Red Sox’s roster in search of potentially favorable matchups. Left-handed bats include Andrew Benintendi, Mitch Moreland, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt. But the right side includes Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, Hanley Ramirez and Eduardo Nuñez.
You can be certain that the White Sox’s and Rays’ rosters have come under the same scrutiny as the Orioles embark on an 11-day road trip.
O’Day could be activated as early as Friday, which will bring another move.
Among the topics broached inside Showalter’s office with executive vice president Dan Duquette is the arrival of opt-out dates for Triple-A Norfolk outfielder Alex Presley and left-handed reliever Josh Edgin.
There’s a 48-hour window for the Orioles to select their contracts. Also, they can choose to come back to the Tides if they don’t latch on with another team.
Edgin’s name has come up as a candidate to join the Orioles during previous bullpen maneuvering. They’d really like to hold onto him. He allowed only one run and two hits in seven innings in spring training after signing as a minor league free agent, and he’s 3-0 with a 4.34 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 12 appearances with Norfolk over 18 2/3 innings. He’s walked five batters and struck out 25.
The ERA gained weight with four earned runs allowed over 1 1/3 innings in an April 28 game in Charlotte and three earned runs in one inning in his last outing Sunday in Gwinnett.
Left-handers are batting .235 against Edgin and right-handers are hitting .297.
The question is whether the Orioles select Edgin’s contract and swap out another left-hander, since they’re not going to carry four, or allow him to leave the organization. They have an opening on the 40-man roster.
Presley is batting .275/.347/.367 in 26 games and the Orioles have a more pressing need on paper for a left-handed hitting outfielder. I’ll run down the list of right-handed hitting outfielders again: Adam Jones, Trey Mancini, Mark Trumbo, Craig Gentry and Joey Rickard. Also, Danny Valencia can back up at the corners if needed.
Jace Peterson bats left-handed and has played left field for the Yankees and Orioles, but he’s getting most of the starts at third base. He’s more utility player than outfielder.
Showalter downplayed the significance of the imbalanced outfield yesterday when asked about the potential need for a left-handed hitter. Anthony Santander, a switch-hitter, was optioned to Double-A Bowie, but he was batting .198 in 33 games and .197 against right-handers. He didn’t leave a tremendous void in the lineup.
“It depends on who it is,” Showalter said.
In other words, and I’ll plug in a name, the Orioles weren’t going to select Michael Saunders’ contract before he opted out simply because he batted from the left side. His .161 average at Norfolk didn’t entice them.
Presley has been more productive at the plate and is much better defensively. But his removal from Norfolk’s outfield could allow the Orioles to bump up a prospect from Double-A Bowie.
While we’re down on the farm, Norfolk right-hander Yefry Ramirez allowed one hit over seven scoreless innings yesterday against Indianapolis. He walked one batter and struck out seven, and his ERA is down to 3.80.
Ramirez is on a roll, as well as the 40-man roster. He’s allowed four earned runs in his last three starts covering 19 innings, with three walks and 24 strikeouts. He’s surrendered seven earned runs in his last four starts over 25 innings, with five walks and 31 strikeouts.