Baltimore Orioles Claim Jace Peterson Off Waivers Amid Infielder Injuries

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 07: Jace Peterson
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 07: Jace Peterson /

The Baltimore Orioles claimed Jace Peterson off waivers on Tuesday from the New York Yankees, the next option to help an injured infield.

The Baltimore Orioles claimed former New York Yankees utility infielder Jace Peterson off waivers on Tuesday to help out their injured infield.

Monday night, Tim Beckham left the game with groin and Achilles tightness. That’s not good. You know why that isn’t good? Because the Baltimore Orioles now have no infield flexibility.

Remember when some, including myself, championed that the Orioles didn’t need a utility infielder on their Major League roster? If not, receipts. Well, now they need a utility infielder.

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Tim Beckham, who had played second base, shortstop and was moving to third base, is hurt. Jonathan Schoop, who is the second baseman, but has played shortstop, is hurt. The team doesn’t seem interested in moving Manny Machado off of shortstop.

Even if they did, how would that help? Luis Sardinas or Engelb Vielma might be good defensively, but they still aren’t Manny.

There is another issue here too: they can’t hit. Sardinas is batting .118/.211/.294 in seven games over 19 plate appearances. He is a career .225 hitter. Vielma has three career at-bats in the major leagues, coming this year. He is 0-fer with two strikeouts. Ruben Tejada is in the minors, and he can hit, but his glove isn’t as good.

Insert Jace Peterson.

Now, the Orioles picking up the New York Yankees’ sloppy seconds is not my ideal way of baseball transactions. But, here we are. When we are facing either Peterson or both Vielma and Sardinas in the majors, and one starting, something had to be done.

Of course, the current starting third baseman, Danny Valencia, has struggled so far in 2018 (like most Orioles). Valencia is hitting .152/.282/.394 in 39 plate appearances, with two home runs, three runs batted in, two doubles and six runs scored.

He certainly has not been the powerful masher the Orioles were hoping for, and he could potentially be part of a roster crunch when all the injured position players (Beckham, Mark Trumbo, Jonathan Schoop and Colby Rasmus) come back. If Rasmus comes back.

More on Peterson:

He was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the first round (of course) in 2011. He played in 27 games for the Padres in 2014, hitting .113 before was traded to the Atlanta Braves with Mallex Smith (among others) for Justin Upton.

In three years for Atlanta, Peterson hit .240/.326/.342 with little power. His best year was in 2015 when he played 152 games as the primary second baseman for the Braves. So far this year for the Yankees, Peterson was 3-10 with three singles.

Peterson has played 260 games at second base, 42 in left field, 26 at third base, seven at first base, four at shortstop, three in right field and one in center field. So, he is a utility player. At this point, the Orioles have bigger concerns than just needing a utility player.

In missing Schoop, Beckham, Trumbo and Rasmus, that is four of the nine projected Opening Day starters. Trumbo may be back next week. Schoop too. That helps. The team also can’t hit their way out of a wet paper bag, unless their name is Manny Machado.

Kevin Gausman was pretty darn good on Monday night, but lost because the Orioles can’t score. Their one run they did score came on a Chance Sisco ground ball single to right field. This team needs help in a lot of ways.

Next: Machado shines while Orioles struggle in April

Jace Peterson is just a utility player, I don’t expect him to be the Orioles’ savior. To save their season, the rest of the Orioles’ offense needs to get it together.