Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Orioles still seeking lefty bat to balance lineup

Davis is the only left-handed hitter among position regulars
MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles still have large holes to fill when it comes to their starting rotation, but the club also would like a left-handed bat that would slot into the outfield and help balance the lineup.

Currently, the O's have Adam Jones in center field and Trey Mancini figures to get regular playing time in left field after finishing third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, as well as becoming one of the team's most consistent hitters. Both are right-handed hitters as well as prospect Austin Hays, who performed well as a September callup and will be vying for a roster spot this spring.

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles still have large holes to fill when it comes to their starting rotation, but the club also would like a left-handed bat that would slot into the outfield and help balance the lineup.

Currently, the O's have Adam Jones in center field and Trey Mancini figures to get regular playing time in left field after finishing third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, as well as becoming one of the team's most consistent hitters. Both are right-handed hitters as well as prospect Austin Hays, who performed well as a September callup and will be vying for a roster spot this spring.

Working against Hays? He doesn't bat lefty.

The O's have long tried to balance out their lineup, with Chris Davis the only returning regular who bats from the left side. Catching prospect Chance Sisco would make two if he makes the club.

Video: Ghiroli breaks down Sisco's outlook for 2018 season

While getting a lefty was originally seen as something the O's would rather do via a trade -- executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette seemed fairly certain of that in early December -- nothing has happened thus far. Or for many other teams since.

But there remains a chance the club will sign a free-agent outfielder, with a MASNSports.com report linking Baltimore to Jarrod Dyson. Some in the organization have long admired Jon Jay, who is also a free agent.

O's manager Buck Showalter is adamant about improving his club's defense, which took a step backward last season, and the preference would be to have Mark Trumbo serving as the primary designated hitter. With Mancini in left and Jones in center, it would leave an opening in right field which would likely be filled by a left-handed hitter from outside the organization, as the O's don't have any viable outfield prospects who hit left-handed.

Hot Stove Tracker

Complicating matters is their current Rule 5 Draft situation -- the team selected three pitchers in December's Rule 5 Draft -- as well as what would happen if Hays has a fantastic spring. Would the team send him to Triple-A or have him in a bench role?

Rule 5 Draft pick Anthony Santander, who is a switch-hitter, has to remain with the club for 44 days before he's officially under team control (can be sent to the Minors). Santander, selected in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft, has yet to prove he can hold his own at the Major League level.

Another option for right field, in addition to Trumbo and Santander, is Joey Rickard, who does give the club a speed option that previous O's teams have lacked.

The bottom line is if the O's are considering adding a left-handed bat to the mix, having that player be an outfielder makes the most sense.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Chris Davis