Baltimore Orioles: I don’t know who’s on third
Baltimore Orioles’ GM Mike Elias said that roster construction was going to be slow-going when he signed on and took the job. So Orioles fans shouldn’t be concerned that things are moving at a snail’s pace. However Orioles’ FanFest is in fact coming at the end of the month; it would be nice for a few things to be in place by then.
Let’s start here; who’s the starting third baseman? In the past this was never an issue, as the Orioles had a guy named Machado. But this year we’re going to see a new starting third baseman – or perhaps a platoon of them.
If there’s an incumbent, it’s probably Renato Nunez. However I’m not sure even he can get that distinction. He was taken by the Orioles off of waivers last year, as was Rio Ruiz, Nunez’s apparent competition for the role. Of the two, Nunez is probably the better one. The Orioles could let these two duke it out in spring training, or even look outside the organization.
There’s also another option, which I’ve suggested before. We talk a lot about Chris Davis and his offensive struggles. Davis has played third base in his career, including during his stint with the Orioles. He’s a solid first baseman, and a decent third baseman. Would the Orioles consider making Davis the full-time third baseman this year if no better option were out there?
The other hidden benefit of that arrangement is that it would open up competition for more younger players in the outfield. The Orioles could simply move Trey Mancini to his normal position at first base. The question is whether or not the Orioles would want to do that or need to. Time will tell.
End of the day, I think there needs to be more of a plan in place for that position than “we might look at several people.” Once the regular season starts, that is. The hot corner is a very important position, which is something that Orioles fans have probably taken for granted at times in the recent past.