The Baltimore Orioles have had a busy couple of weeks here recently with reporting to camp and the acquisitions of Suk-min Yoon, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Nelson Cruz and we have already mentioned that we believe Yoon was the most effected pitcher by the Jimenez signing, but who was the most effected by the Cruz signing?
Before the O's signed Cruz, the belief by most Orioles reporters and baseball analysts was that Delmon Young was going to be the primary right handed DH for this ball club, but now with Cruz in the fold, does Young still have a shot at making the Orioles roster?
Young, albeit topsy turvy, has a track record throughout his career of being quite a potent right handed bat against left handed pitchers, which was an area the Orioles severely under performed at in 2013. He boasts a career .303 average with a .341 on base percentage against lefties, and overall he has been a quality hitter throughout his career with a .282/.316/.423 stat line with 100 home runs in parts of eight seasons and 3,692 at-bats.
Give Dan Duquette some credit here, he gave Young a Minor League deal, thus the Orioles are not required to keep him on the 25-man roster, and perhaps Duquette knew all along that he was going to legitimately try to add another DH option at some point in the offseason.
Unfortunately for Young, Duquette did just that and did so in a big way by acquiring Cruz. Young's lack of quality defensive ability makes him strictly a hitter and with Cruz in the fold, there is almost no way he can make the 25-man roster.
Notice we said almost.
Young still does have a shot of cracking this roster, but it may come down to less of his actual spring performance and more on the health of the other outfielders. The prime guy to keep an eye on will be Nolan Reimold. It is no secret that Reimold has a pretty poor injury track record, and not many actually believe that he can stay healthy, especially considering the fact that he is coming off of two spinal fusion surgeries. If Reimold were to get injured during Spring Training, Young instantly has a good chance at making the team because that would permit Manager Buck Showalter to put Cruz in left field and Young at DH against left handed hitters.
Outside of Reimold, or Cruz himself, the only other way Young would even have any shot at making the team is if he can prove he could be a viable backup at first base to give Chris Davis a day off in the field, the problem with that is, Cruz is also going to get a look at possibly doing that as well.
Odds are, in the end, Baltimore will give Young a choice, put some time in at AAA Norfolk and wait for an opportunity, or cut him and let him explore the free agent market. If Young begins to tear it up in Spring Training, perhaps the Orioles could trade him for something to a team that has suffered an injury. You never know what will happen in the world of baseball, but things do not look good for Young as an Oriole.
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