Baltimore Orioles Facing a Utility Position Problem


For many teams in Major League Baseball, finding one utility player is an issue.  It isn’t easy to find someone who can play numerous positions, who is good defensively and also provides something on offense as well.

The Baltimore Orioles do not have a problem of finding someone to be a utilityman.  Their problem lies in which of the three candidates is going to end up making the team as the utility player. The choices are the incumbent, the short-timer, and the newcomer.

After the original angst over the Everth Cabrera signing and the fact he may start over Jonathan Schoop, that seems to have passed.  Schoop isn’t having a great spring, but his glove looks excellent. He is only hitting .192, with no walks and eight strikeouts, which is a cause for concern, but his defense alone will win him the 2B job.

Cabrera has done some good things offensively, especially with the running game and drawing walks. Sitting at a .286 average, Cabrera has four walks, a triple and a double. However, his defense has been highly suspect. And that is the one thing where Cabrera was held in high regard previously.

Ryan Flaherty is hitting .167, with three hits (all singles) in 20 at-bats.  He has one RBI and has struck out five times. Now, one does not have to worry about his glove.  However, his arm playing third base and the outfield is a bit of a question.

Then there is Jimmy Paredes. I’ll be honest, I’m a Paredes supporter. I know last year his defense was suspect, but he is a guy who can play multiple positions who can hit the ball.

And he has certainly done that this spring. Jimmy has the team’s best batting average for anyone with more than four at-bats, at .429. He also has scored three runs, has seven RBIs, and three doubles. And only two strikeouts.

But, what has been most impressive is his defense. He has always had a decent arm, but his glove is much improved from last year.  Buck Showalter has spoken several times about how good Paredes looks in the field.

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Speaking of Showalter, it appears he is going to take 13 hitters to Opening Day. With a backup catcher, and probably two back up outfielders, that only leaves room for one utility player. In addition, only one of these players is out of options. That is Paredes.

I believe that on Opening Day, both Paredes and Cabrera make the roster. Then, once Chris Davis returns the next day, one of these players will be sent to the minors or designated for assignment (if it is Paredes). If he continues to play good defense, I think Paredes just might stick in Baltimore to start the year.

Do you agree?