According to MASN's Roch Kubatko, Jimmy Paredes will begin his rehab assignment on Tuesday with Bowie, then go to Frederick on Wednesday before returning to the Baysox the following day. That's great and all, but Paredes is out of options and the Orioles don't have a clear opening for him. So, what's the plan?
What can he do?
Paredes had a fantastic first half of 2015, slashing .299/.332/.475 with 10 home runs and 39 RBI over 68 games. But he was awful after that, and his playing time reflected it. He managed to get into just 36 games and hit .216/.252/.265 with no home runs and just three RBI.
On top of that, the man has no business owning a baseball glove. Paredes has spent time at second base, third base, left field and right field in the majors, but it has not gone well. He has a negative zone rating at each position; -2.2, -6.5, -0.3 and -2.9, respectively. At 27 years old, it's unlikely that he is still developing, so he just stinks in the field.
Does he fill a void?
Paredes is a hitter first and foremost. Maybe he would see some time in the field if there was a last-second illness in the clubhouse that took out three or four of the other everyday players on the team and at least two of the most athletically-gifted pitchers, but that is about the only plausible scenario.
The Orioles already have a guy that ties their hands like that in Pedro Alvarez, a player who has been in MLB for six years and has a history of hitting home runs, including a league-leading 36 in 2013. Not to mention he has a guaranteed deal that will pay him $5.8 million this year. Paredes had one nice half a year ago and adds an athletic/speed element that Alvarez lacks, but he is only due $520,000 this season.
Can someone else make room?
Hyun-Soo Kim and Nolan Reimold are the only other two players on the roster currently who don't have regular roles cemented in place. Ryan Flaherty was the third before he was sent down as the corresponding move for Kevin Gausman on Monday. We already know what happened when there was talk about Kim going down. And Reimold is the only man on the roster that can semi-serve as a pinch runner or late-inning defensive replacement for Mark Trumbo in right field.
The Orioles are currently carrying 13 pitchers and could conceivable send down one of Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright or T.J. McFarland. With Gausman back in the fold, it gives the Birds a more reliable, veteran arm in the rotation, which, theoretically, will give the team's bullpen a break. *fingers crossed*
What should happen?
Even though the Orioles could make it work, it doesn't mean they should make it work. If Paredes heads to Baltimore in the next week or two, the club would be stuck with Kim, Alvarez and Paredes; three players that have limited or no defensive value to speak of. Kim has done well at the plate in limited chances, but has shown no power. Alvarez remains without a home run, which was his big selling point. And who really knows what Paredes will even provide?
There is no way Flaherty can remain down in Norfolk for very long. Sure, many of the Orioles have the ability to play multiple positions (Chris Davis: 1B, LF, RF, 3B; Manny Machado: 3B, SS; Mark Trumbo: RF, LF, 1B to name a few), but moving one man out of his comfort zone can change the complexion of the entire team. It's much simpler to insert one guy and let the rest of the bunch stay where they are used to being.
Is Paredes worth all of this shuffling? Probably not. The guy can definitely hit a little bit and his ability to switch hit would bring some balance to the lineup. But he is not young enough to make the "he's got potential" argument. You can't count on any kind of production. And while he is out of options, there is a chance the Orioles could retain him.
If Baltimore really wants to hold onto Paredes, they will find a way to do it. Perhaps Kim or Alvarez would spend some time on the disabled list. Maybe they could hide him in left field or right field every now and then. But really, this is not a make or break move.
Jimmy Paredes is an OK player, but he should not displace another player currently on the major league roster. Thanks for everything, Jimmy. We probably don't need you any more.