When the Orioles re-signed Mark Trumbo in January, one of the biggest things to worry about was whether he would be playing right field again. Tucked into a notes column on all 30 teams from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman is a tidbit that Trumbo is not expected to spend a lot of time in right field this season.
That’s not to say that we won’t ever see Trumbo in the outfield at all, because according to Heyman, Trumbo is mentioned as being expected to spend time as the designated hitter and left fielder this season.
This is just a bunch of notes from one reporter, so don’t fly off the handle at any of them. There are others worth discussing as well. I’ll get to them. The Trumbo thing is something to think about, though, because if Trumbo really is going to be ticketed for left field, that seems to suggest something about how the Orioles will be deploying their outfielders.
So far in the spring training games, left field has been manned by Hyun Soo Kim when he plays, and right field has been patrolled by Seth Smith when he plays. The O’s kept Kim away from lefties last year. Smith batted like a guy who should be kept away from lefties.
Given that Trumbo played a lot of right field last year, it seemed like he could be the platoon partner for Smith in right. Does this news mean that Trumbo is going to be paired with Kim instead? That’s not a good thing for people who want to see Kim as an every day player. It is a good thing if you want to see a more capable defender in right field.
With the plethora of non-regular players used in spring training games, it could be a while before manager Buck Showalter really tips his hand about this. All we have here is Heyman’s assertion buried in the middle of a bunch of notes about “Orioles people” - without any indication of who thinks what and whose thoughts are dominant about what.
There’s another big question raised from Heyman’s conversations with those Orioles people: What is going to be done about the Dylan Bundy cutter/slider?
The big decision in O’s camp may be whether to let Dylan Bundy throw his slider/cutter. Chris Davis came back from a BP session muttering, “What the… was that?” it’s such a devastating pitch. But Orioles people are so concerned about Bundy’s health they aren’t sure they’ll let him throw the pitch. He still has a fine repertoire, even without the pitch.
Many of the articles that have come out of Orioles spring training regarding Bundy have treated it as a given that Bundy will finally be unleashed with ~the cutter~ (said mysteriously) this season. It’s been treated as a big part of the reason to be optimistic about his having greater success. This pitch, along with his velocity, were two big things that made him an elite prospect.
If ~the cutter~ has to be taken away for the sake of Bundy’s health, the Orioles should absolutely preserve Bundy. But that means fans are going to have to adjust to lower expectations for Bundy. He hasn’t had his old velocity since having Tommy John surgery and now he might not have ~the cutter~ either. This will bear watching as spring training moves on towards the regular season.
Some other takeaways from Heyman’s “O’s people”:
- “Some O’s people seem to wish Wieters never left.” - This has been reported in the past as a disconnect between “Orioles field people” (Showalter) and “the front office.” Hopefully Welington Castillo does well enough that we don’t have to hear about this all year.
- “Orioles people believe Hunter Harvey, back in mid-year, and Corey Sedlock will be stars.” - Let’s assume that Heyman means Cody Sedlock, last year’s first round pick. Let’s also hope that these aren’t the same Orioles people who thought that signing Yovani Gallardo and trading for Wade Miley were good ideas.
- “O’s people would love to see Mike Wright make the team.” - Do you think this is a weird thing to say? The Orioles will decide who makes the team!
At the end of all of that, Heyman proclaims the Orioles “baseball’s most under-rated team.” If he’s right about that, 2017 is going to be a good year.