When Jonathan Schoop will return to Baltimore is still up in the air. Since the second-year player went down with a knee injury last month, it has been a revolving door at second base for the O's.
Ryan Flaherty, the logical replacement, has had his own 15-day DL stint for a groin injury and seems to be on track for 15 more days after he was removed from Monday night's game with a tweak of some kind.
Reports after the game said that 25-year-old Rey Navarro is coming back to the Bigs after spending a few days with Norfolk. Further evidence that Flash's injury is serious.
After Flaherty was removed, Steve Pearce took over at second base. It's obviously not an ideal situation, but Pearce is a gamer who seems like one who is willing to learn any position to stay in the lineup.
And of course there is Jimmy Paredes, who has been on fire at the plate, but his struggles in the field are well-documented. It is likely that manager Buck Showalter would like to keep Paredes as far away from a glove as possible.
So, who makes the most sense for the Orioles at second base until Schoop returns?
From a defensive perspective
As I just said, Paredes is as shaky as it gets in the field. He doesn't receive the ball well. He doesn't throw the ball well. Just no.
With Pearce, the turning of the double play is worrisome. In Monday night's win over the Blue Jays, a throw of his during a double play was a bit slow in developing and resulted in the runner being safe. While he will likely never been a great glove man at second, he can be serviceable. Or at least do enough to make it until Schoop is back.
In 42 innings thus far with the Orioles, Navarro's advanced statistics are not good. His UZR is -0.2, but the guy has made just six plays so that basically means nothing. In the past the rookie has been lauded for his defense, being name the best defensive infielder in the Diamondbacks system back in 2009 and as the best defensive second baseman in the Carolina League in 2011, also by BA. Clearly, he is the best of the trio.
From an offensive perspective
This is pretty cut and dry as well for the time being.
Pearce was phenomenal last year, but has struggled mightily in 2015. Navarro has flashed a nice bat in limited chances, hitting .316 over seven games, but we all know Paredes is the king here.
The switch-hitter has shined since coming off of the disabled list a few weeks ago, hitting .363 for the season with five home runs and 15 RBI. He really has been a revelation in the lineup.
Elsewhere in the organization
The Triple-A Tides have a pair of 32-year-olds in Paul Janish and Jayson Nix. Both were in Spring Training with the O's but failed to impress. Now, Janish is holding his own at the plate, hitting .242 with three doubles and a triple. Meanwhile, Nix is hitting just .176 and has three errors in the field. Neither one has a home run yet.
Also on the Tides is former Rule 5 pick Michael Almanzar, although he is primarily a third basemen. He has made four errors thus far and is batting .256 with a home run and four doubles.
If the O's are getting especially desperate, we can look at the Double-A Bowie Baysox. However, none of the middle infield prospects are highly regarded and all of them are struggling to hit the ball in the minors. Jason Esposito may be the biggest name, but he is more of a corner infielder. He is hitting .242 with two home runs and 12 RBI.
Outside of the organization (the big guys)
Making a trade seems like an unlikely scenario unless Schoop suffers a major setback from his recovery. If the O's were to make a trade for the position, it would have happened by now. Anyway, there are a few names to think about.
-Chase Utley: He is always brought up when a team has gap at second. But he makes a lot of money and has options remaining. Don't count on this even coming close to happening for the Birds.
-Ben Zobrist: He has been out with a knee injury of his own for a few weeks. He is expected back in late May. Personally, I would love this move if Zobrist were healthy, or close to it. He is one of the most versatile players in the game, but he could command a decent return in prospects.
-Howie Kendrick: The dude can hit and is a pending free agent. However, the Dodgers are still winning and it is unlikely they move one of their everyday players.
-Daniel Murphy: He was an All-Star in 2014, but he is struggling with the stick in 2015 and is a pending free agent.
Outside the organization (the little guys)
-Rickie Weeks: Back in the day, Weeks was one of the best power-hitting second basemen in the league. Not to mention, he is a former teammate of Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy and likely wouldn't cost too much in a trade.
-Brendan Ryan: You want a defensive-minded option? Ryan is one of the better fielders in all of baseball. His issue is that he can't hit...like...at all.
Obviously, there are a ton of options here. If you want a comprehensive list of pending free agent middle infielders, check out Baseball Prospectus. Either way, the O's seem more likely to wait for Schoop than make a trade.
This scenario will likely play out like every thing else the O's do. It will be a wait-and-see mentality. Are any of the pending free agents that much better than what the Orioles have when you consider the money and prospects needed? Especially when you consider that Baltimore's minor league system is fairly thin as it is.
I try to not be an Orioles apologist too much, but plugging in Navarro for the time being and rotating in Pearce when is bat is hot seems like the best option. Although it would be great if Schoop's knee could hurry up and heal. PLEASE!
What would YOU do at second base? Stick with what the O's have or make a trade? Let me know in the comments down below or tweet me @_TyYoung.