The 2019 Orioles season is such an un-fun disaster that even a roster move that could be enjoyed comes with one that must be suffered. So it is on Thursday afternoon, as the team announced that the struggling Dan Straily has been designated for assignment. However, because O’s fans can’t have nice things for long in 2019, bad news follows: John Means has been placed on the injured list, retroactive to June 17.
The Orioles announced the injury to Means as a left shoulder strain. Everything is terrible! Means, the O’s 11th round pick in the 2014 draft, ascended from barely even being in the fringes of the Orioles rotation conversation when spring training began to being the only good Orioles starting pitcher through late June.
We can only hope that the injury doesn’t turn out to be a serious one for Means, that he is able to be back from it relatively soon, and that when he does return, he can pick up where he left off. It’s a surprise to see him end up on the IL if only because his last start, where he mostly scattered seven hits in five innings and allowed two runs, didn’t appear to be one of those obvious, “This guy must be hurt” disasters.
Not that Straily being sent to the great DFA in the sky would have single-handedly fixed the O’s pitching staff, but with the guy having given up 22 home runs in 47.2 innings, it sure can’t hurt. Signing Straily was not necessarily a bad idea. It just didn’t work out at all.
The Means injury opens a hole right back up, and as has been thoroughly demonstrated, there’s no one at Triple-A waiting to seize the chance. This season sucks. It can’t be said enough.
Along with these two moves, the Orioles added a couple of players back onto the roster. Dwight Smith Jr. was activated from the seven-day concussion injured list, while reliever Evan Phillips was recalled from Norfolk for what feels like the 14th time. The number 14 is actually just how many walks he’s issued in 16.1 MLB innings this season. Sometimes one can only plug a piece of chewed gum into a leaky dam and hope for the best.
Smith’s return will leave the Orioles having to figure out how to keep juggling the corner outfield. Anthony Santander is young enough and has hit well enough to deserve more of a look. Trey Mancini is day-to-day, but hopefully not for many days, after being hit by a pitch in Wednesday’s game.
Smith, with 11 home runs, has been a pleasant enough if not overwhelmingly great surprise after being claimed during spring training. It would be nice if he had an OBP above .296. A lot of things about the 2019 Orioles would be nicer if they were better. At least Smith is slugging .462 to go along with it.