Baltimore Orioles Select Steve Wilkerson as Roster Churn Continues

The Baltimore Orioles added two offensive players to their roster on Tuesday, in one expected move and one that was not quite as expected.

This week the Baltimore Orioles brought back Caleb Joseph and brought up Steve Wilkerson as he makes his Orioles debut. That’s the announcement that the team made on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.

This continues the somewhat baffling moves by the team, in which they are shaking up the offense and getting younger, but also sending down Chance Sisco. Regardless of how baffling this is, it does make sense. Alvarez is struggling, big time.

The left-handed DH is hitting .180/.283/.414 with eight home runs, two doubles, 18 RBIs and 18 runs scored in 127 plate appearances.

He has struck out 38 times so far, which is a ton, nearly 33 percent.

Recently, in limited appearances, it has not been good. Alvarez over the last month has 24 plate appearances and is hitting .136/.208/.136 with no extra-base hits.

Compounding this is that Alvarez is so bad defensively, the Orioles don’t have anywhere for him to play but DH. And, with Mark Trumbo, Trey Mancini, Chris Davis, and others on the roster, that is kind of superfluous.

Now, for Wilkerson.

Many thought he could have made the Orioles out of Spring Training, had he not been suspended for violating MLB’s drug policy. He was the leading utility infielder for their minor league system last year and turned heads in the Arizona Fall League.

In 16 games with Triple-A Norfolk, Wilkerson has continued his strong minor league play. Wilkerson is hitting .290/.362/.500 with three home runs, four doubles, nine RBIs, 11 runs scored and zero errors. that will work. He has started games at second base, third base, shortstop, left field and right field for Norfolk.

Now, the more curious question is what this does to the Orioles’ roster going forward.

They currently have Austin Wynns and Joseph as their catchers. Both could have a future with the team, although if they want Wynns to be the backup to Sisco after 2018, maybe they are going to showcase Joseph to trade him.

First base is the dark hole of Davis, who eventually will have to return to the team. Other infielders include Jonathan Schoop, who is starting to hit, Manny Machado and Danny Valencia.

All three of them could be traded, and Machado and Valencia should be. Backups are Corban Joseph, who in all honesty is probably a minor league player, and Jace Peterson, who might be a utility player, isn’t going to win a starting job on most teams.

Moving to the outfield, the team has Trey Mancini, Adam Jones, Trumbo, Joey Rickard and Craig Gentry.

Jones should be traded, if for nothing else to chase a ring. If they can unload Trumbo, go for it. Heck, someone might even want the speed and defense Gentry offers, as a more veteran guy off the bench, a la Terrance Gore or Jarrod Dyson (although clearly not as fast as those two).

The team has a number of outfielders who are knocking on the major league door to some extent, so there is no need to hold on to players that have expiring contracts, or who can help the team down the road.

Selecting Wilkerson is another sign that this team is looking to the future, which is necessary.

Now, it is time to start seriously shopping guys like Manny Machado, Brad Brach and Jones to see what the return is.

The Orioles need to continue to work to move their team ahead, which includes building for the future and also evaluating the players currently in the system.

Having Joseph and Steve Wilkerson in the majors is a sign the Baltimore Orioles are starting to commit to that process.