The rotation was the Orioles’ primary concern before and during the 2017 season and it remains long after Rays reliever Chaz Roe struck out rookie Trey Mancini for the final out at Tropicana Field. It dominates, but it doesn’t distract. There’s other serious business that needs to get done before opening day. Try creating a mock lineup and count the number of left-handed hitters in it. Let’s put a right-hander on the mound for the opposition. Let’s try to stay in step with manager Buck Showalter. Working under the premise that the Orioles don’t trade Manny Machado and he stays at third base, the lineup would look something like this: Tim Beckham, SS Manny Machado, 3B Jonathan Schoop, 2B Chris Davis, 1B Adam Jones, CF Mark Trumbo, DH Trey Mancini, LF Caleb Joseph, C Austin Hays, RF See the problem here? Davis is the only left-handed hitter. (You also see that my cleanup hitter batted .215 this season with 195 strikeouts in 128 games, but try to focus on the issue of an unbalanced lineup.) Chance Sisco bats from the left side, but he isn’t assured of breaking camp with the team. He has to earn a spot and he’s not likely to get the bulk of the starts in the early portion of the season. Executive vice president Dan Duquette said he can fit a left-handed bat in the outfield or at designated hitter. It would be a platoon in the latter scenario with Trumbo on the roster. Hays could be assigned to Triple-A Norfolk or serve as a fourth or fifth outfielder, but he’s in right field in my late-December lineup because I don’t have many choices.
What’s left for Orioles as they try to balance lineup?
Masn | Dec 30