The Baltimore Orioles made a couple roster moves today to help try to limit the damage done by Nick Markakis‘ broken hand. First, let me clarify, the Orioles will not be able to replace Markakis. Orioles fans can only hope Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette make just the right moves to maximize their current talent potential.
The Orioles designated for assignment veteran reliever Kevin Gregg and minor league second baseman Ryan Adams. Coming up to the big leagues are outfielders Endy Chavez and L.J. Hoes. These are two more pieces to what has become a very complex puzzle for Showalter and Duquette to solve.
There are a number of possible players who could try (emphasis on “try”) to replace Markakis in right field. Some of these players provide solid defense and some are better offensive options, but one thing is for sure, none of these guys can replace Markakis on their own.
Possible Suspects to Fill in for Nick Markakis:
1. Wilson Betemit
You saw him play the final game of the Yankees series. Chris Davis moved to right filed allowing Betemit to DH. Betemit is a below average fielder so the Orioles need to move Davis to right field hurting their outfield defense. Betemit’s bat is solid, but only from the left side. Don’t let the switch hitter label next to his name fool you. Betemit mind as well just hit left handed this season. Betemit is hitting .304 as a left handed hitter and just .141 as a right handed hitter.
2. Xavier Avery
I have to admit Avery is my personal favorite. He is young and there is the danger of rookie mistakes, but he has already seen major league action earlier this season and has shown he can hit at the major league level. At the very least he will play a very good defense in right field and could cause some things to happen on the base-paths. Avery is the type of player who could provide a spark for the Orioles on the base-paths alone.
3. Endy Chavez
Chavez is an older version of Avery. A speedy, left handed hitting fourth outfielder. Normally I would go with Chavez over Avery due to him having more experience, but Chavez just hasn’t played well at all this season.
4. Lew Ford
I was skeptical at first of the right handed hitting veteran outfielder. He had a couple solid seasons with the Minnesota Twins then spent the last 5 years out of the majors. However, when you watch Ford you like what you see. He still has decent speed, some pop in his bat, and can field his position. However, he still is hitting just .196 with the Orioles this season.
5. L.J. Hoes
Hoes may be the most intriguing option for Showalter and Orioles fans. Hoes has yet to make his first major league appearance, but is one of the Orioles better prospects. He doesn’t have the upside Manny Machado has, but Hoes could prove to be a solid player. Hoes has played great this year at Triple A Norfolk and has earned a shot at some playing time. The question becomes, does Showalter throw the youngster into the fire? Hoes hit .300 with a .374 OBP in 82 games at Norfolk this season. He has good athleticism and the potential (emphasis on “potential”) to offer the best combination of fielding, speed, and offense.
Starting tonight, September 11th, in right field for the Orioles is Ford. Step on up Mr. Ford, it’s your turn in right field.