The Orioles have had another little roster shake-up on Monday afternoon with a series of moves that could potentially set them up to deploy an outfield with three real outfielders for the remainder of the season. These three moves had been expected since Sunday night:
- Adam Jones activated from the bereavement list
- Mark Trumbo placed on the 10-day disabled list due to right knee inflammation
- OF John Andreoli recalled from Triple-A Norfolk
In addition, Joey Rickard was optioned to Norfolk on Sunday night.
Trumbo’s knee has been a known problem since at least the August 11 doubleheader against the Red Sox. In the second game of that doubleheader and the next day, Trumbo was limited to just a pinch hit appearance. Once back in the starting lineup, MASN broadcasters have noted him seeming to be hobbled when running to first base.
Slumps are part of baseball, but it may not be a coincidence that Trumbo has batted just .130/.192/.130 in the eight games since news of this injury became public. Prior to that, he had a twelve-game hitting streak going. Sometimes the team is not being done any favors by a player toughing it out through an injury. Now, perhaps he can be on the mend.
If you’ve never heard of John Andreoli before right now, that’s OK. The 28-year-old righty-batting outfielder was claimed by the Orioles from the waiver wire just two days ago. Andreoli found himself on the waiver wire after being designated for assignment by the Mariners the day before.
The Dan Duquette quote bot deployed at the time to describe the new claim to O’s reporters, including MASN’s Roch Kubatko:
John Andreoli is a versatile and dependable outfielder who can play all three positions. He possesses above-average base stealing, defensive and on-base skills.
The thing about the above is if it was all true, he would not have been designated for assignment by a team in the playoff hunt. Although finding diamonds in the rough was a part of Duquette’s success in the early part of his Orioles tenure, this has been less the case in subsequent years. Andreoli is probably not the next Steve Pearce.
He does have good on-base skills in the minors, though. In 89 games for Seattle’s Triple-A Tacoma affiliate, Andreoli batted .287/.397/.401 this season. Any time you see that OBP more than 100 points above the batting average, that is immediately interesting. He had two brief stints with the big league club this season, long enough to play in three games and get his first MLB hit but not much else.
However, he’s only hit three home runs, and that lack of power probably signals that big league pitchers will be able to challenge Andreoli safe in the knowledge that he’s unlikely to hit the ball hard. If this occurs, he will not be able to unlock those on-base skills at the big league level. For an example of another player who experienced this, look no farther than Rickard, who Andreoli replaced.
Not that anyone asked me before the O’s made this move, but I would have liked to see either DJ Stewart or Mike Yastrzemski if the O’s are trying out a new outfielder in the season’s waning weeks, rather than some waiver wire flotsam. Neither has dominated Triple-A Norfolk the way the O’s might have liked, but they might have more to offer than Andreoli or the veteran Craig Gentry to the O’s future. At this point, giving any playing time to the 34-year-old Gentry is puzzling.
Still, this series of moves means that the Orioles will be able to deploy three actual outfielders. Hopefully, they will actually do so. In Monday’s lineup, Gentry is in left field with Jones in right and Cedric Mullins in center. Trey Mancini is in his natural position at first base, while Chris Davis is serving as the designated hitter while still batting fifth.
O’s pitchers might finally have a chance to pitch with a better outfield defense behind them, and we might be able to evaluate whoever pitches in late August and September a little better if they aren’t constantly saddled with extra baserunners.