All across America, people will spend the day before Thanksgiving flooding into grocery stores to make sure they have stuffing and cranberry sauce and whatever else might be needed for their Thanksgiving feast.
The Orioles went shopping instead for a left-handed outfielder with no power. As these are about as plentiful, in baseball terms, as boxes of stuffing are in the grocery store, they had no trouble finding one, acquiring Jaycob Brugman from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for a player to be named later or cash.
Brugman, soon to be 26, was originally a 17th round pick by the Athletics out of Brigham Young University in the 2013 draft. That puts him on the old side for calling him a prospect, though he did steadily ascend the A's minor league system before making his MLB debut this past season.
The rookie campaign for Brugman saw him post a .266/.346/.343 batting line in 48 games. The lack of power is notable and surely what holds him back from a larger role anywhere, but that's a decent OBP.
A Fangraphs capsule on Brugman from before the 2017 season makes him sound like competition for Joey Rickard for the fourth outfielder spot:
A quintessential tweener, Brugman is a high-character prospect with fringe to average tools across the board. He has a solid approach and bat-to-ball skills but lacks the power to profile in the corners and doesn’t run well enough to play center field full time. He should be an excellent bench outfielder for a long time. As with most prospects from BYU, he’s a bit old for the level (already 25). Once he’s off the DL, though, he should debut this year.
Not very exciting, but hey, that's what you're going to get for a PTBNL or cash. At least they didn't trade any more international bonus slots for this guy.
With these fringe Dan Duquette acquisitions, the first question to ask is always, "How many options does he have left?" The answer in Brugman's case appears to be two, as his contract was selected by the Athletics last November in order to protect him from last year's Rule 5 draft.
That means Brugman had one option used up in 2017, leaving him two more. So he doesn't have to make the MLB roster or bust, if the Orioles don't want to put him on in Opening Day. He can hang out in Norfolk until needed or until his performance makes keeping him down there looks foolish.
The Duquette quote bot deployed to bless the acquisition:
Duquette: "Jaycob Brugman is a .275 lifetime LHHer that can play LF, RF average and occasionally fill in at CF. He is a good contact hitter and has above average on-base capability."— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) November 22, 2017
Often, these Duquette assessments don't really match any public scouting reports of a player, but in this case, what Duquette says about Brugman is pretty close to that Fangraphs comment about Brugman.
A cursory glance through the archives of SB Nation's Athletics Nation reveals that my counterpart over there, Alex Hall, got really, really excited when Brugman was called up in June. We all have our favorite obscure prospects. Alex probably didn't want to see his get traded for a PTBNL or cash the day before Thanksgiving. Being a baseball fan can be cruel.
Hopefully, we get to see a little of what made Alex so excited about Brugman - who apparently comes with the nickname Bruggy - here in Baltimore. The track record of random fringe Duquette acquisitions is such that today being the only day Orioles fans ever have cause to think about Brugman is also a possibility.
The acquisition of Brugman leaves the Orioles 40-man roster at 34 players, so there's still plenty of room to sign free agents, claim random scrubs on waivers, and make a Rule 5 draft pick before having to trim people.