The Baltimore Orioles have lost their second key position player for the season, as Manny Machado will have surgery on Wednesday on his knee. This is the opposite knee from last year, and hopefully this time Manny can get everything resolved before spring training.
But, in the interim, the Orioles need to decide what to do to replace him.
The easy answer is to continue to use Chris Davis and Ryan Flaherty at third base. Davis has looked good at third, although no one will replace Machado’s platinum glove. Flaherty is also a very good defender at third.
However, it is the hitting that is concerning. Flaherty does not provide a lot of offense, although I believe if he was starting frequently, it is possible he could heat up.
Davis continues to be mired in a season-long slump, despite hitting HRs, still has a terrible batting average.
The options from the minors include Cord Phelps, who I don’t think is overly qualified to be in the majors. Remember, it isn’t just about the rest of the season, but also the playoffs.
Other options include two more intriguing players, Alexi Casilla and Steve Lombardozzi. Casilla has just finished rehabbing from an injury, and is known as a plus defender with speed. His hitting isn’t probably any better than Flaherty, though.
Steve Lombardozzi can certainly hit, but the fact he is in the minors has made it clear the O’s don’t trust him defensively. I think he could provide a decent bat at third.
Another option is Jimmy Paredes, a guy the Orioles claimed not too long ago who can play all over the field, but is listed as a third baseman. He is a plus speed guy who is hitting .246 in Norfolk, but .287 for the season between Norfolk and Omaha.
As far as acquiring a player, yes, I know Adrian Beltre is available. But, I don’t think he is the answer. Beltre would be expensive, is having a down season and is 35. Would he improve the offense? Yes, but that doesn’t mean putting him there solves all the issues.
As I type this, Jim Palmer and Gary Thorne are talking on the MASN broadcast about this very topic. Messing with the team make up can be a dangerous thing, just ask the A’s and Tigers about that.