If there's one thing this Orioles team was missing as they coast towards the end of the regular season, openly not really caring if they win games, it was leadoff hitter Alexi Casilla. That's what is happening on Saturday. Casilla hasn't even been on the roster all season, so they've added him with only two games to play and sent Preston Guilmet packing.
It's kind of a harsh fate to get sent to the great DFA in the sky in September, when rosters have already expanded, but hey, Guilmet would still get a World Series ring, probably. Over ten games for the O's across several different stints, he pitched in 10.1 innings and had a 5.23 ERA, with 12 strikeouts and only two walks, but he also gave up two homers. Thanks for everything, Preston. No, really.
Why Casilla? Well, if you've been watching these meaningless games, you've noticed that the Orioles defense in the infield, particularly at third base, is not cutting it lately. Jimmy Paredes has had his problems, enough that the Orioles seem to be giving a little audition to a guy who batted .214/.268/.295 in 62 games for them last season. Also, Casilla has a total of 31 major league innings at the third base position. It's not that hard. Tell him, Wash.
Technically, a player has to be on the 40-man roster by September 1 to appear in the postseason. There are loopholes to this rule. We know how Dan Duquette loves finding his loopholes. The answer lies in replacing players who spent time on the roster who've since gone on the disabled list, such as Manny Machado, whose knee injury resulted in this whole third base mess in the first place.
Casilla has been slumming in Norfolk this season, where he played in 56 games - none of which were at third base. He'd been in Sarasota staying sharp with several other players just in case they needed him. Turns out they needed him.
I can't think of Casilla without recalling what's probably the most boneheaded baserunning play I've ever seen, when he ended a game in Baltimore last season by getting doubled off first base on a routine fly ball where he just kept on running and never stopped. Now we get a chance to see more of that - perhaps even in the playoffs. It's a joyous occasion, except for the fact that it's not.
Perhaps it's desperation on the part of the Orioles. Perhaps it's some kind of overwrought misdirection meant to confuse Tigers/Royals scouts. Either way, he's leading off and playing third base on Saturday.