Now that we know Manny Machado is going to miss opening day, the O’s infield possibilities without him are getting interesting. There are certainly plenty of them.
Today, the Orioles exchanged infielders, acquiring switch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi from Detroit in exchange for Alex Gonzalez. The Tigers needed a shortstop, Gonzalez had a strong spring and now is headed for Detroit.
So who starts at second and who starts at third for the Orioles starting March 31? Will Jonathan Schoop make this team?
These questions are among the most intriguing with now just a week to go before opening day.
Here is one possibility: Buck Showalter could platoon Schoop and Ryan Flaherty at third. He then could have two lefty batters at second and third against a right-hander and two right-handed hitters at those spots against lefty pitching. Or Flaherty or Schoop could play every day while he platoons the others.
You would think if the O’s keep Schoop on the active roster, they would want him to play every day and not be part of any platoon, but for a short stretch of a few weeks, would they consider it?
Where would this leave Jemile Weeks, David Adams and Alexi Casilla? The first two can play for Triple-A Norfolk and Adams was already optioned there. Not sure where this leaves Casilla.
Schoop hit just .211 with an OPS of .639 against left-handed pitchers last season at Triple-A. Some of that might be chalked up to his back injury. In 2012 at Double-A, he hit .308 with a .500 slugging percentage and .899 OPS against southpaws.
Here are Lombardozzi’s career splits at the major league level:
Against LHPs: .249/.273/.314
Against RHPs: .269/.305/.351
By the way, after today’s trade, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com gave the O’s kudos for the deal with this tweet:
* Difficult to grasp Lombardozzi-for-A. Gonzalez for #Tigers unless DET getting another piece. Lombo solid UTL. AGon is 37, 65G last 2 years.
The O’s got a younger player with some upside for an older one that probably was going to be an Oriole for only this season.
So we know that Machado is out for opening day and at least the very early part of the 2014 season. So who is in?