Baltimore Orioles: Current Players Sufficient to Replace Cruz


In my last post, I discussed the free agent options available in the outfield.  You may recall, it isn’t pretty.

More from Baltimore Orioles

I went with the assumption that Nick Markakis is an Oriole on Opening Day, because I believe he will be. But, the team may have to replace Nelson Cruz, and if that isn’t going to come from the lackluster free agents available, who will it be?

It could be any number of players currently for the O’s.

Going off the 40-man roster, there is Quintin Berry, David Lough, Alejandro De Aza, Steve Lombardozzi, Jimmy Paredes and Henry Urrutia. Some intriguing names for sure.

It likely won’t be Berry, who despite his defense and speed, is not a great hitter.  It likely won’t be Lombardozzi, who has to be frustrated with how he was used last year.  But I think it could be any of the other four players.

Then there is one minor leaguer who should be mentioned, and that is Dariel Alvarez.

Oct 2, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles left fielder Alejandro De Aza (12) slides into home plate to score a run during the eighth inning in game one of the 2014 American League divisional series at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It would be a surprise to see Alvarez break camp with the Birds next spring.  The O’s have established options at this point ahead of him, and he is clearly in need of some seasoning to improve his plate discipline.  This is different from the Jonathan Schoop situation from last spring, where Schoop didn’t have anyone ahead of him who was clearly better, and he was also aided by the injury to Manny Machado.

Personally, I think Lough and De Aza could more than fill left field if Nelson Cruz is not brought back, or even if he is and he is the DH, although he would be a very, very expensive DH. Lough is bound to have a better season in 2015 than he did in 2014, I mean could it get any worse?  The guy is a tireless worker, he was just set back this spring with the concussion issues and never could get on track.

De Aza showed me more than enough during his time as an Oriole to be comfortable with him as a starting outfielder in 2015 . He has speed, power, can play defense, and hits for a decent average.  I would be intrigued to see a full year of De Aza in left field, with options like Lough and Urrutia available should he struggle.

But what about something a little unorthodox.  Chris Davis and Steve Pearce have both played left field for the Orioles.  No, neither of them are prototypical outfielders, and the team’s defense might suffer.  But, by using them at the position it would allow them both to play at the same time.  It would also allow the Orioles to potentially have Christian Walker in the majors.  It would provide some flexibility on the roster.

Ideally, Nelson Cruz is wearing number 23 again come Opening Day.  But if not, could a variation of Davis (obviously not on Opening Day), Pearce, De Aza and Lough do a good job manning 1B, LF and DH? It is an intriguing thought.

Being able to put several of these guys on the field at the same time is the reason that focusing on pitching in free agency, after bringing back Nick Markakis and trying to bring back Nelson Cruz, would be a prudent solution for the Orioles.

Do you agree?