The Orioles' patchwork "what the hell, anyone can play second base" strategy has not been a catastrophic failure to date. Still, it will be good if they don't need to keep playing by that philosophy quite so often. One step to that is the return of Ryan Flaherty from the disabled list, which will be official before Wednesday afternoon's game, given that Flaherty is in the Orioles starting lineup.
In the process, the Orioles designated outfielder Alejandro De Aza for assignment. It's a surprising move in the sense that the O's likely hoped they'd be getting far more out of him than six weeks of a .214/.277/.359 batting line. It's not surprising when you consider that batting line and the fact that the Orioles have two other lefty-batting outfielders on the roster in Travis Snider and David Lough. Also, De Aza approximately struck out one million times this season.
After losing his arbitration hearing against the O's back in spring training, De Aza was locked in on a $5 million salary for the year. He gets paid regardless because that's how baseball salaries work. We can probably imagine if the O's could see into the future seven months ago and know this is where De Aza would be, they wouldn't have tendered him a contract at all. That money could have been spent elsewhere for better effect. Hindsight is always 20/20.
It says a lot about the state of the Orioles season that Flaherty's latest return from the DL is anything worth nothing or even something that causes a little excitement. Actually, in his limited action this year, Flaherty is batting .250/.372/.500. That's undoubtedly a small sample size, only 13 games, but he's shown both power and patience at the plate. You might have noticed that the O's could use a little boost to their offense lately.
De Aza was hardly the only player on the roster not pulling his weight and, Dan Duquette being Dan Duquette, this is probably not the last person sent to the great DFA in the sky over the next little while. Even if it means a few million dollars were flushed down the toilet, if you don't perform, you won't stick around forever.