Baltimore Orioles: Is It Time to Shake It Up?


May 23, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; MLB umpire Paul Emmel (right) examines Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Brian Matusz (17) arms for foreign substance during the 12th inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. The Marlins won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Another series loss for the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, as they lost 5-2 to the Miami Marlins, who had looked lifeless until Saturday night.

The Orioles were beaten by a team that honestly, looks better than them. The Orioles starting line up on Sunday was as follows:

Manny Machado 3B
David Lough LF
Jimmy Paredes 2B
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Everth Cabrera SS
Ryan Lavarnway C
Alejandro De Aza RF
Miguel Gonzalez SP

Yep, that’s not pretty.  After the first four, lots of easy outs there. Now, Cabrera did pretty well, but the rest did not.

Lavarnway really blew it, striking out with bases loaded as the go-ahead runner. De Aza continued to struggle. Davis didn’t strike out as much, but killed one rally by swinging at the first pitch with the bases loaded and getting an out at first base.

And that led me, as well as several other people I interact with, to lament the lack of options. It also seemed like J.J. Hardy was out, as he should have been used to pinch-hit at some point.

So, here are some of my thoughts.

1) Designate Lavarnway for assignment and call up Steve Clevenger. Clevenger may be out of options, it is tough to find a reliable source on how many players have options remaining. And Matt Wieters will ideally be back in about 10 days. So maybe this is only a short-term option. But I’m sick of Lavarnway, as he seems to do nothing to help the team win.

2) Let David Lough get more playing time.  Travis Snider and Alejando De Aza have continued to get more playing time than Lough, despite showing next to nothing. Letting Lough get more playing time would be one thing I would do to shake up the outfield.

3) Call up Nolan Reimold and designate Alejandro De Aza. De Aza has not done well. Reimold is heating up in the minors. The problem here is that Reimold is also out of options. so when Jonathan Schoop returns and a roster spot is needed, Reimold could be lost as well.

4) Put Bud Norris in the bullpen and keep Mike Wright in the rotation. As of right now, there is room for this. Eventually, that may not be the case. But, I think Norris could be a great reliever (I advocated him for closer in 2014 before Zach Britton took the position and ran with it.)

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All of these moves in a vacuum make sense. But, the Orioles’ roster is so inflexible that it makes it tough.

So many players are out of options and cannot be sent down. This includes most of the Orioles’ bullpen, including Chaz Roe, who I am fine with losing.

As June 1 approaches, the O’s are only three games out of first place. The AL East is still up for grabs, and I think eventually the O’s are going to grab control.  But right now, this is a .500 team. Some changes are going to need to be made, particularly as numerous players come back (Wieters, Norris, Schoop, Flaherty). But, I think shaking up the weak logjam in the outfield is going to be priority number 1, unless someone gets hot.

Next: Wright is the Right Stuff