The Orioles continue to make moves, major and minor. Some are easy to analyze, some aren’t.
Tuesday’s acquisition of Efren Navarro and the concurrent move, designating L.J. Hoes for assignment, falls into the latter category.
It’s not so much the addition of Navarro, another left-handed hitter to an outfield that needs more, but the jettisoning of Hoes.
It wasn’t very long ago that Dan Duquette, the Orioles’ Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, trumpeted the re-acquisition of Hoes, who was traded away from the Orioles in July 2013 as part of the Bud Norris trade.
Hoes was popular with his teammates, Duquette emphasized. That’s not something that Duquette normally refers to, but it’s true. Adam Jones, perhaps the most influential of all the Orioles, liked Hoes and mentored him.
For a time, it seemed that Hoes and Nolan Reimold had a shot to make the 2016 Orioles. Now, Reimold looks as if he still does, and Hoes may be with another team.
The Orioles can try and work out a trade for Hoes, who is out of options. That’s how the Houston Astros, who are very fond of Hoes, lost him to the Orioles.
If he passes through waivers or the team doesn’t trade him, Hoes can go back to Norfolk.
Hoes checked off a lot of boxes for the Orioles. He’s still relatively young (26 in March), plays both corner outfield positions and has some speed. He’s also from Bowie, and having local players is big with Duquette.
Predictably, many fans decried the Navarro acquisition. The Orioles are trying to get as many left-handed hitters in the outfield as they can.
Hyun Soo Kim and Henry Urrutia are the only other left-handed hitting outfielders on the 40-man roster, though you have to believe Duquette will come up with some others in the next three weeks. Xavier Avery, a minor league signee hits left-handed, too.
Hoes, Jones, Reimold, Dariel Alvarez, Rule 5 pick Joey Rickard and Mark Trumbo, who’ll probably DH, are all right-handed. So is Alfredo Marte, who was also signed to a minor league contract.
Jimmy Paredes, who played some right field in winter ball in the Dominican Republic, will get a look there, and he’s a switch-hitter.
It’s entirely possible that Navarro like Joey Terdoslavich, won’t even be around when the Orioles get to Sarasota next month. Terdoslavich, a switch-hitting outfielder, was briefly on the roster until designated for assignment when Davis was re-signed.
Terdoslavich was of interest because he attended Sarasota High School, about two miles away from Ed Smith Stadium. If he passes through waivers, he could be added to the burgeoning list of spring training invitees.
The acquisition of Navarro doesn’t preclude the Orioles from signing more accomplished outfielders, as they will surely do in the coming weeks. The Orioles also must stock Norfolk and Bowie with credible players, and add depth in case there are several injuries to outfielders.
Hopefully, Hoes will find a suitable home. But, it’s strange to realize that he only played in three games for the Orioles before his trade. It just seemed like more.
It would be nice for the Orioles to give Henry Urrutia, who’s one of the hardest workers on the team, a legitimate chance to be on his first Opening Day roster.
Urrutia, who three years ago, was stuck in Haiti trying to get to the U.S., has been a diligent student of the game and of the English language.
No longer a rookie, Urrutia who will be 29 next month, has a .272 average in 34 games with the Orioles in 2013 and 2015.
Another Cuban defector, Yoenis Cespedes, won’t be. According to Jon Heyman of the Baseball Network, the Orioles were one of a number of teams who offered Cespedes a five-year contract last week.
Cespedes ended up re-signing with the New York Mets. The Mets gave him a three-year contract with an opt-out after a year.
The Nationals offered Cespedes five years, and Heyman says the Orioles did, too. At least one other team offered Cespedes a five-year contract, too.
However, the Orioles have refused to offer free agents opt-outs, and Cespedes preferred the Mets.