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November 17, 2011

What to do with the Orioles' DH spot in 2012

One thing to watch over the next few weeks is what the club does with their designated hitter role.

Last year, that spot belonged to Vladimir Guerrero, who is a free agent and is not expected to be back.

With all due respect to the future Hall of Famer, the Orioles could use a significant production increase from its DH in 2012. Last season, Orioles designated hitters were in the bottom five in the American League in home runs, RBIs, on-base percentage and on-base-plus-slugging.

The other problem is that with Guerrero cemented at DH because of his inability to cover ground in the outfield, Orioles manager Buck Showalter lost a lot of lineup flexibility.

In 2012, Showalter would like to use the DH as a floating position with several players filling the role depending on matchups and partial-rest days.

“In a perfect world, yes, you’d like to be move guys around and do certain things with it,” Showalter said.

But, Showalter said, it all depends on the makeup of the 25-man roster, which is a work in progress.

It’s unlikely the Orioles will seek a DH-only like a Guerrero or a David Ortiz, or at this point in his career, Jorge Posada, if they can get another power bat at corner infield or left field.

“But short of that, we need to get somebody that helps us at the plate,” executive vice president Dan Duquette said.

And, Duquette said, it is possible the best option ends up being a DH-only player, though that’s not the ideal situation.

“I’m not sure how it is going to shake out in terms of DH,” he said.

One person we can’t forget is Luke Scott, who is coming off shoulder surgery and a lost 2011. If he is healthy – and the Orioles and Scott can agree to a reasonable contract for both sides – he could be the primary DH with some outfield starts (and emergency ones at first base). That decision will be made within the next month or so.

Mark Reynolds does not appear to be a DH option. He’s never done it and doesn’t want to – he said he needs the flow of a game to keep him involved and ready to hit. The Orioles could force his hand and make him DH several times a week, but giving him irregular playing time in the field could further hamper his already suspect defense.

Posted by Dan Connolly at 6:00 AM | | Comments (27)


"Mark Reynolds does not appear to be a DH option".... really. I don't think the braintrust would want him to DH exclusively. Secondly, Reynolds is a excellant first baseman, ever bit as good as Prince Fielder.
Thirdly, Showalter has expressed a desire (I agree) to have a DH by committee. I happen to like Reimold, Smith, Reynolds and maybe ?? to hold down the DH position.

I don't see why Luke Scott would be an option for this club. He's not a very good player and we need to get past the Luke Scotts of the world if this team is going to advance and succeed in this division. He is very inconsistent and a below average fielder. His name should not even be mentioned.

Reynolds plays a solid first base, and I would leave him there unless Joe Mahoney has an outstanding spring.

Reimold is ok in left field and his power numbers per at bat are actually better than his rookie season - just needs to get his avg up.

We are set at RF, CF, SS, C, and Andino is the best utility player in the league.

That leaves 3rd and 2nd. I predicted 2 years ago that Roberts was done at 2nd. The future there could be Adams or Andino.

3rd base needs to be a slugger. Chris Davis is not the answer. The answer may be via trade or Mahoney makes it to the majors and pushes Reynolds back to 3rd.

None of this matters without solid pitching. I believe the revolving door at pitching coach took it's toll last season.

I could live with Luke as the DH, and I'd keep Reynolds at 1st and give Riemold the start in LF. The two positions that concern me the most are 3B and 2B.
The O's biggest problem by far isn't offense though, it's pitching. If they had gotten decent pitching last season, with the exact same offense, they would have been a winning club.

The Orioles should be aware of how horrible Reynolds defense is. Putting him at DH is no brainer. His glove at 3B alone put the Orioles at the bottom of the AL in defense in '10, which overall was in the middle of the pack without him. And for those who call him "spectactular" at 1B, the truth is he's barely adequate there, which doesn't cut it. Keeping Reynolds in the field makes as much sense as a soup sandwich, regardless whether he wants to DH or not. Unfortunatly for him, his defense has its best value as a DH.


What about Josh Willingham? He's only 29 and can hit for power and knock in runs. You sign him and let him play in LF, as well as spell Mark at 1B and DH three to four times a week so that way Nolan Reimold can also get time in both LF and play DH too. I also feel that if Reimold doesn't pan out, you have Josh as your everyday left fielder and then you can rotate guys who need a break in the field at DH or perhaps someone from the minors.

Reynolds was okay at first, not great but okay (he's no Derrek Lee). At third, he's a disaster (worst fielding percentage among regulars, most errors, range second worst, only moderately better than Aramis Ramirez). So if he can't play first, he's gotta DH. During his short time at 3b, Davis displayed less range than Reynolds, with an even poorer fielding percentage. Josh Bell had better range and better fielding percentage than both. If he could only hit...
Guerrero's signing was a wasted $8 million. His stats weren't as good as Reimold's (adjusted to equal at bats) but his signing sent Reimold to Norfolk..
I like the idea of having Scott DH mostly while sharing time at 1B with Reynolds, trading Davis (or Reynolds), letting Bell and even Andino share 3B (in limited 3B action, he had better defensive stats than Bell, Davis and Reynolds)...
Of course, the condition of Brian Roberts is a factor here...

Sorry Mark Reynolds is a below average at any position you put him at. Using the word excellent is far from a reasonable evaluation. The club should try to deal him for pitching prospects.

Reynolds should never play 3B again, for any team, period. Atrocious numbers in the field. He would be perfect for the DH role, though. I'm all for brand new players at 1B, 3B, and even 2B and DH. Those who say Reynolds is a fine 1B are incorrect - did they see that easy play that he barely made vs the red sox in the final game? It was like he stuck his glove out and closed his eyes like a girl, and sure enough the ball bobbled around in his mit long enough for the baserunner to be safe at 1B. I say new players at 1B, 3B, and DH, and maybe even 2B. I vote for Kotchman at 1B, and maybe trading for Michael Young at 3B/2B or signing ARam at 3B. Luke as DH only(vs righties) makes sense but we still need a 4th OF too - Luke gets injured out there in LF. If Reynolds just cant bring himself to DH, then maybe we should trade him.

I brought up DHing Roberts a couple of days ago. Let Adams and Andino fight it out for 2nd in ST. DHing could be a way of helping to keep Roberts healthy and preserve him for the role of leadoff batter which no one else on the club really fits. He could still play second when Buck wanted to rotate other bats into the DH role.

Adams bat could make him a valuable asset in the order, and Andino could be a real asset off the bench backing up 3B, SS, and 2B. Last Spring Buck even got him some at bats as a LFer.

Reynolds is ok at 1B and should hit better his second time around in the American League. His defense at 3b had steadily improved in the National League, so last year's problems at 3b could be tied to struggling to adjust to the change in leagues. If Mahoney catches fire and Davis doesn't hit, Reynolds could move back accross the diamond. But first I think the O's need to see what they have in Davis, so giving him an extended look at 3b would seem to be the best option.

The O's desperately need a front of the rotation pitcher. Not going to get that guy in a trade unless they give up Jones or Wieters. I think that the best course of action would be to move Johnson to the rotation and try and sign some back of the pen arms to replace him. Relievers seem to get two to three year deals at the max so the O's could make some noise in that market.

I'm not sure that either Riemold or Scott are ever day players, but Earl Weaver would have turned the two of them into a solid tandom in LF. Scott may not want to sign to be a part time player, but that's what he really is. Not sure that Riemold really is either, so a platoon is probably the best option.

Reynolds was NEVER as bad at 3B during his years in Arizona as he was last year. I suspect he could rebound and be just fine over there, but I'm not sure the O's will give him that opportunity. But there's no doubt in my mind the corners need to be Davis/Reynolds.

DH should be Reimold and sign somebody to play LF (SIZEMORE!!!)

what about julio franco, hes only 57 and can still hit and cheap , but douqett says if he excepts no more then a two year contract and he can platoon with luke ,


Are you living in 2008? Josh Willingham will be 33 in February, fella.

Plus, he's a horrific defender, and with his knees getting worse every year, he'd be much better off as a full time DH.

I'd like to see the O's try something new and pick up an aging veteran who is past his prime as a reclamation project. Oh, never mind.

Coach, pure observation shows that Mark Reynolds played a solid and at times spectacular first base. His range was much better, and his digging out of low throws was nothing short of amazing. Plus he hit for a higher average and for more HRs as a 1B. He deserves a shot there.

Jekyl, gotta get past guys like Luke Scott? Really? Luke two years ago hit 27 HRs, good for top ten in the majors, and finally put together a consistent year, hitting 284. He's a physical fitness fanatic, so if there's anyone who can come back, it's him. The Orioles can do a lot worse.

I like Reynolds at 1B.
If Mahoney has an impressive spring, try him at DH and LF. He's really not a particularly good-fielding 1Bman.

I like Andino at 3B but we really should get more power from that position than Andino offers. Trading for David Wright might be a solution since the wait for Bell and Waring to become major league hitters has indeed grown long and weary.
Chris Davis (if he hits) may also be a good option. I believe he's a much better glove there than Reynolds.

I'd rather have a healthy Luke than Willingham or Sizemore any day of the week.

People need to wake up. Reynolds not wanting to DH? Trade him for pitching, someone can be suckered in for him. As to DH, put Scott at 1st and let him, Reimold, C Davis handle the role. May not work but better than letting Reynolds ruin another year. He had a big hand in making the SP look bad, and as soon as he left 3rd the pitching suddenly 'improved'. Don't believe the hype at 1B.

I suspect that the decision to sign and play Vladimir Guerrero every day at DH was Peter Angelos'latest attempt to know something about baseball.

I think the answer to DH is simple, and we have two choices.
Johnny Damon or
Juan Pierre.

Both are LH with Leadoff/SB experience
Can also platoon with Reimold. Leaving possibility of bringing up Angle as 4th OF.

Aging? Yes. but JohnnyD is Clutch and Pierre is better than Pie.

I can't see picking up another player past his prime.

Vlade had a decent average but limited power and he clogged up the base paths with his limited running ability.

I would try Luke at DH if available and fill in some spots with Hughes, Snyder Adams, Angle. Not the best choices but I don't see anyone else out there.

Now I remember why I stopped wasting my time posting. 12 hrs and still my comment is not posted by your "moderator' Great Journalism Guys!!!!!

John: There is no moderator. It is me. Most times if I (Connolly) don't approve the comments, no one will. We could go to automatic approval, but then a lot of unwanted trash gets in. Plus, by reading everyone's I can better respond if needed, which is part of the purpose of the blog. But we are short-handed, and I can't always get to the comments. I'm sure that's frustrating. So sorry.

I can't help but wonder about Andruw Jones.In limited action last season he put up some pretty very solid numbers and despite his latter years weight gain still can patrol left field and has a glove for the ages,and veteran post season experience.Not a perfect choice but if he could be had for a reasonable price you would have a DH/Outfielder on your bench.
Go O's!

Sign Ryan Doumit who is by trade a catcher who plays 1st well and can slide into the OF if needed. Would be a perfect backup for Wieters. You could then carry Andino and another player who can play IF/OF like a Jerry Hairston.

My apologies to you and your associates Dan. I think my frustration with our team has made me quite volatile in my commenting.
You guys do a great job especially with all the gunk you are forced to wade through. Im a daily reader and appreciate all the workt.
Harrison NJ
O's fan since '76


No problem John, Understand the frustration. I try to get to the is all about pitching and defense.
The O's need pitchers.
What they really need is someone to develop the good talent they draft and someone else to identify talent in the draft......Matt Hobgood.....really?
Until we get some arms it really doesnt make too much difference who is playing in the field.

Since Duke says he has no intention of going for good pitching (not his exact words, but it is what it boils down to) you have to do what you can in the field. I think Reynolds should be given 1B and Andino should be installed at short unless BRob makes it back. I'm not sure if Davis makes it at 3B, but he might. Stick with Reimold in RF. And why not Posada? He can be a backup catcher and play backup at 1B as well as DH. Unless they are going to throw down on a serious bat or pitching what else are you going to do.

I like another year with Vladimir Guerrero at DH and Reynolds at 1B.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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