Can both Ryan Flaherty and Paul Janish be included on next year’s Opening Day roster? That’s something Buck Showalter will have to figure out next March.
Showalter likes both Flaherty and Janish. He loves Flaherty’s versatility and quickly grew to admire Janish for both his baseball knowledge and his steadying influence on pitchers in Norfolk.
Flaherty and Janish are both eligible for arbitration, and need to be offered contracts by Dec. 2.
In 2015, Flaherty started games at six positions—first, second, third, shortstop, left and right field. He made $1.075 million, and is under club control for two more seasons.
While Flaherty batted just .202 last season, the Orioles are hoping that both J.J. Hardy and Jonathan Schoop will be healthier in 2016. Schoop missed nearly half the season with a right knee injury.
Flaherty’s defense is strong, especially at second. He made just one error in 56 games there.
Last year, Flaherty suffered through a horrid stretch where he went 0-for-34, the longest hitless streak by an Orioles position player in more than 40 years. He also ended the year wearing an 0-for-19 collar.
Janish, who was added when Hardy went on the DL with a groin injury in late August, isn’t known for his hitting, either.
While Flaherty has some power; he hit nine homers last year, Janish hasn’t hit a major league home run since Sept. 3, 2010.
Janish’s lifetime average is .216, and Flaherty’s is .215.
While Flaherty’s best position is second, Janish’s is short. Janish has only played short, second and third and hasn’t played the outfield.
Flaherty has an option left. Janish doesn’t.
After Janish joined the club, the two naturally gravitated toward each other. They’d often watch games together and have other things in common, too. Both are nearing their degrees from prestigious universities, Flaherty from Vanderbilt and Janish from Rice.
Janish was set to finish his degree in September, but the major leagues got in the way. He’s an economics major.
When the Orioles report to spring training next February, the two could be joined by Steve Tolleson, who recently signed a minor league contract with the team.
It was listed in Baseball America’s transactions, but hasn’t been officially announced. Tolleson, who is also well liked by Showalter, hit .189 in 29 games in 2012 for the Orioles.
Tolleson played 109 games for Toronto in 2014, but last year was an unhappy one with the Blue Jays. He played just 19 games, none after May.
Interestingly, the Orioles have another utility infielder on the 40-man roster, Rey Navarro. He filled in when Flaherty and Schoop were both on the disabled list, and hit .276 in 10 games.
Norfolk manager Ron Johnson spoke favorably of Navarro’s play in September, but he didn’t get a call to join the team. Instead, he went to Sarasota in case he was needed.
Navarro divided his time between short and second with the Tides.
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