Baltimore Orioles: Steve Clevenger to Replace Ryan Lavarnway


Feb 25, 2015; Sarasota, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles catcher Steve Clevenger (45) catches a pitch during spring training workouts at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Sun newspaper is reporting that Steve Clevenger is being recalled from AAA Norfolk, with Ryan Lavarnway being designated for assignment. This news is not totally surprising given the relative total lack of production from Lavarnway in the 10 games he has played with the O’s this season. He is batting a mere 3-for-28 (.107).

The Orioles certainly expected and hoped for more offense from Lavarnway when they got him from the Red Sox in December. Actually, he was claimed off waivers from the Cubs, who had claimed him from the Dodgers, who had claimed him from Boston.

Lavarnway, age 27, was a 6th-round pick of the Red Sox in 2008.  He was seen as an heir apparent for the catching job in Boston, but it did not work out there, and it is still looking to work out somewhere.

Clevenger, a local Maryland product, at age 29 has been in the Cubs and Orioles organizations. He was a 7th-round selection of the Cubs in 2006.

The rap on him in the O’s organization has been on the defensive side of the game. He has worked on it, and with the need for some backup help that can hit, here he is in Baltimore. Of course, looming over the horizon is the anticipated return of Matt Wieters in early June if all goes well.

Let’s take a look at the two players (SC = Steve Clevenger, RL = Ryan Lavarnway) and their offensive stats from this year, and then their career numbers at both AAA and in the big leagues.

SC – Tides279132214.352
SC – AAA22476924313110.316
SC – MLB11831566116.210
RL – ’15 O’s1028300.107
RL – AAA25694526832142.284
RL – MLB10730759534.192

As can be seen, Clevenger has an edge overall, except in power numbers in AAA.  Neither has lit it up much in their short MLB stints. But it would certainly seem that Clevenger is the better choice at this moment in time.

I don’t fault the Orioles at all for taking a run at Lavarnway and giving him the early season shot at contributing. It was not a stupid risk. But it is time to move on to something else.

Next: Thoughts on Brian Matusz and the Suspension

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