UPDATE 4:15pm: The local press have indicated that the corresponding 40-man roster move for this transaction will be Brian Roberts to the 60-day disabled list. Roberts was initially placed on the DL retroactive to March 26, so he should still be eligible to come off the DL whenever he finishes his rehab assignment. At that point a 40-man roster space will have to be cleared for him again.
Yesterday when I listed options in the minor leagues for who might replace Nick Markakis on the Orioles roster, I forgot about Bill Hall. He was designated for assignment earlier in the month, which usually means you can safely purge him from the memory banks, but he did accept an outright to Norfolk after clearing waivers and so was still in the organization. Another week later when the O's needed him again, there he was, ready to return.
The move has not been officially announced yet, but it's official enough that Hall posted on his Twitter account last night that something good had happened, and it didn't seem like the reason for it was saving a bunch of money on his car insurance. Today all the writers have confirmed it: Hall, 32, is on his way back to the Orioles. He will join the team in Tampa and could find himself in the starting lineup tonight. He will be replacing Markakis on the roster after Markakis' broken hamate bone is expected to keep him out for at least 3-4 weeks. The surgery was this morning and was successful.
In an 11-year major league career spanning over a thousand games and 3,671 plate appearances, Hall has batted .248/.308/.436. That's not going to win any awards or set any records, but Hall is a guy who's played a lot of positions in his career, may occasionally take a walk and may occasionally hit a home run. He memorably hit a home run in his first Orioles game and had four walks in his 11 plate appearances this year.
Hall may not replace the production of Markakis, but he is the sort of guy you want to have stashed away in AAA to jump in if needed. No prospect need be thrown to the wolves, and we don't have to suffer a non-prospect coming up and being completely over his head, either. We are not far removed from the dreaded Five-Headed Shortstop Monster, so we know that there is some value in having a player who is neither great nor terrible, so long as that player doesn't pull a Cesar Izturis and transform into terrible while with the Orioles.
We'd rather see Hall at the plate than Ryan Flaherty. We'd rather see Hall in the outfield than Wilson Betemit. This should be precisely what we get. The Orioles are not as talented a team without Markakis, but Hall's enough to stabilize a position and keep it from being a black hole. If the Orioles keep losing, it's probably not going to be Bill Hall's fault, but if they turn around and start winning some games again, he just might contribute. What else can you ask?
Good luck to Bill in his second stint, and may he bring us Orioles fans some more exciting moments along the veins of that first home run.