The Orioles have a new outfielder and a decision to make regarding how to fit him on the 25-man roster.
Keon Broxton has been acquired from the Mets in exchange for international signing bonus slots. He isn’t reporting today, which delays the corresponding roster move.
Does the club remove a position player or go with a four-man bench and send down a pitcher? Does his arrival affect Joey Rickard, a backup at all three outfield spots and valuable to the Orioles because he can play center?
Executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias also claimed right-hander Chandler Shepherd off waivers from the Cubs, and he’s been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Broxton, who turned 29 on May 7, went 7-for-49 with 22 strikeouts in 34 games with the Mets before they designated him on Friday. He hit 20 home runs and stole 21 bases for the Brewers in 2017 but has slashed .216/.306/.404 in parts of five major league seasons.
The Orioles are using infielder Stevie Wilkerson as their starting center fielder, but Broxton has made 190 starts among 241 appearances at the position and provides a more natural option. He’s also made eight starts in right and one in left.
The Diamondbacks selected Broxton in the third round of the 2009 draft and the Pirates acquired him five years later. The Orioles are his fifth organization.
Shepherd, 26, appeared in eight games with Triple-A Pawtucket in the Red Sox’s organization and was 0-5 with a 10.01 ERA and 2.326 WHIP in 29 2/3 innings. He’s 17-28 with a 4.09 ERA and 1.297 WHIP in 158 minor league games, including 35 starts.
Shepherd posted a 1.80 ERA and 0.800 WHIP in 30 innings at Double-A Portland in 2016. He struck out 39 batters.
The Red Sox drafted Shepherd in the 13th round in 2014 out of the University of Kentucky. The Cubs claimed him off waivers Saturday, one day after the Red Sox designated him for assignment.
Shepherd allowed 11 homers in 29 1/3 innings in Pawtucket’s rotation while trying to transition into more of a starting role.
Cobb has been on the IL three times, the last two with a lumbar strain. He’s rehabbing down in Sarasota.
Ramirez was optioned after starting Sunday in Cleveland and allowing four earned runs (five total) with four walks in 3 1/3 innings. He’s 1-10 with a 6.07 ERA and 1.586 WHIP in 21 major league games, including 13 starts.