When the Orioles grabbed Chris Parmelee in the offseason, it wasn't a headline maker. The former first-round pick had never really impressed in his four-year Twins tenure; the Orioles snagged him on a minor-league deal (and when you can snag a former first-round pick for basically nothing, it's usually a good idea to take a shot). But the deal had an opt-out date, and Parmelee was raking with AAA Norfolk as that date approached, so the Orioles called him up.
Raking at AAA was nothing new for Parmelee; he had done it in multiple stints in the Twins organization, including a 1.102 OPS in almost half a season in 2012. But the Orioles didn't want to lose Parmelee, and they hoped his hitting might transfer to MLB this time.
At first, the play looked brilliant, and Parmelee looked like he might be the next Dan Duquette value signing. Parmelee hit three home runs in his first two games, against the Phillies, and instantly put himself on the map; he's played in all 21 of the team's games since being called up (17 starts and four late substitutions). The Orioles believed in him enough, even, that when they were finally forced to shed an extra outfielder, they chose to cut ties with Delmon Young on July 1st, rather than Parmelee.
But Parmelee's star seems to be fading, albeit in a limited sample size. His overall batting line sits at a respectable .234/.279/.531, but those numbers are bouyed by the hot streak that Parmelee rode into the majors. In his last 11 games, Parmelee is slashing a brutal .107/.138/.250, and he's currently caught in a 1-for-17 (with a hit last night being his first in a week). This coincides, of course, with another down stretch for the entire team's offense, and it's harder for a hitter to produce when no one else around him is, either.
Nonetheless, it's not hard to envision Parmelee as the next odd man out on the roster. In particular, if the team believes that Chris Davis is a viable right fielder, Parmelee becomes more expendable with Davis and Steve Pearce capable of holding down first base and right field while Jimmy Paredes DHes, and David Lough, Nolan Reimold and Travis Snider all available for the last outfield spot.
Decision time on Parmelee isn't immediate -- the Orioles are playing their usual pre-All-Star Break roster games, and there's no specific crunch to deal with in the short-term (though in the long term, the team needs space for Ryan Flaherty). So Parmelee has a few games to pull his batting game back together (and a few good games might be all it takes to end this conversation). But if his struggles continue, don't be surprised to see Parmelee as the odd man out when the team has to even out its bench after the break.