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Should the Orioles try and bring back Nate McLouth?


Should the Orioles try and bring back Nate McLouth?

One of the most enjoyable things about writing about the Orioles is that the audience is passionate and full of ideas.

Everyone knows the Orioles are searching for another outfielder, and the list of competent free agents is, unlike at any other position, surprisingly rife with possibilities.

I’ve mentioned Matt Joyce, David Murphy, Will Venable and even Shane Victorino as left-handed hitting possibilities to play right field, and yes, I know that Victorino abandoned hitting left-handed a few years ago, but he says he’s willing to give switch-hitting another try.

A reader suggested another name that wasn’t on the MLBTradeRumors.com list of free agents.

What about Nate McLouth?

McLouth underwent a cleanup procedure in August on his right shoulder. He missed the entire 2015 season following surgery to repair a torn labrum he suffered in July 2014.

After leaving the Orioles in Dec. 2013, McLouth signed with the Nationals. His two-year $10.75 million contract with a $750,000 buyout for a third year has ended.

It was a deal the Orioles wouldn’t match—especially the $6.5 million option for 2016 that’s now been bought out.

The Orioles hoped that David Lough would be just as good as McLouth, and he’d be cheaper. He wasn’t, and he’s gone, too.

Hyun-soo Kim is presumably the new left fielder, and McLouth, who’ played some in right field, but never with the Orioles, is looking for work.

McLouth was invaluable in 2012, especially after Nick Markakis was lost in September with a broken thumb, and his .258 average with 12 home runs in 2013 looks better in retrospect than it did then.

He was hitting in the high .280’s into August, but in that month, McLouth hit .194 and .218 in September.

In 2013, McLouth stole 30 bases, and the Orioles could certainly use some speed.

Now for a dose of reality. McLouth is now 34 and hit horribly for the Nationals in 2014. When his season ended in July, McLouth was hitting just .173 with a home run and seven RBIs in 79 games.

He hasn’t played a major league game for more than 18 months.

McLouth is a genuinely nice man who adored Baltimore. He compared the Orioles crowds in 2012 to college football ones, and that wasn’t meant as a knock.

Buck Showalter called him and jokingly threatened him if he didn’t re-sign. In December he did, turning down an offer from Tampa Bay.

While readers often have good ideas for a blog, it would surprise me if the Orioles took this fan’s advice, and took a flyer on McLouth.

The Orioles already have Dariel Alvarez, Nolan Reimold, Rule 5 pick Joey Rickard, Henry Urrutia and newly acquired Efren Navarro to compete for the right field job.

They also have Xavier Avery, Alfredo Marte and Joey Terdoslavich on minor league contracts, and if he passes through waivers, perhaps L.J. Hoes.

While it’s tempting to say, let’s just add another player, McLouth would need games to play in, and there may not be enough innings to go around for all those outfielders.

Of course, if the Orioles add a player on a major league contract, they’ll get those innings and some of those on minor league invites won’t.

If 2012 or 13 comes back again, Nate McLouth would be a nice addition to the Orioles, but sadly for him, it’s now 2016.
It would be great to have the friendly man with the upbeat, honest personality in the clubhouse, but it would be better if he could recapture some of that magic that he’s seemingly lost.

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Orioles pitching falls apart as Tigers complete sweep in Detroit

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Orioles pitching falls apart as Tigers complete sweep in Detroit

DETROIT - Leonys Martin hit his first big league grand slam, Jeimer Candelario had four hits and three RBIs, and the Detroit Tigers beat Baltimore 13-8 Thursday to extend the Orioles' losing streak to six.

Jordan Zimmermann (1-0) gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, allowing two home runs to Manny Machado and one to Chris Davis. Zimmermann was pitching for the first time since being hit in the jaw by a line drove off the bat of Cleveland's Jason Kipnis on April 11.

Alex Cobb (0-2) made his second start after signing a $57 million, four-year contract in spring training and his ERA rose to 15.43. He allowed seven runs - five earned - and 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Machado had four RBIs for the Orioles, who were outhit 18-14 in the game and outscored 23-15 in the three-game sweep.

Victor Martinez hit an RBI single in the first, but Davis put Baltimore ahead with a two-run homer in the second, his sixth hit and fourth homer in 10 career at-bats against Zimmermann.

Detroit went ahead for good with four runs in the bottom half after third baseman Tim Beckham's throwing error allowed James McCann to reach base leading off. Jose Iglesias hit a two-run triple, Miguel Cabrera had an RBI single and Nick Castellanos a run-scoring groundout.

Machado's homer in the third cut Baltimore's deficit to 5-2, but Candelario's two-run homer extended the lead to 7-2 in the bottom half. Martin homered off Mike Wright Jr. in a five-run fifth.

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Orioles fall in Detroit after wild 8th and 9th innings

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Orioles fall in Detroit after wild 8th and 9th innings

DETROIT -- Dixon Machado came to the plate with only one big league homer to his name, but the way this game was going, anything seemed possible.

"Walking to the plate I was thinking, `What if I hit a homer right here?'" the Detroit infielder said. "He threw me a fastball away but when he came in with a pitch I was ready for it and I just hit it hard."

Machado led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run , capping a wild final two innings and lifting the Tigers over the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 on Wednesday. Detroit led 2-1 before each team scored three runs in the eighth and one in the ninth.

Baltimore's Luis Sardinas tied it with a solo shot off Shane Greene (1-0) in the top of the ninth, but then the 26-year-old Machado hit a line drive off Pedro Araujo (1-2) that cleared the fence in left field. It was his second homer in 299 big league at-bats.

The game was moved from 6:40 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. in anticipation of bad weather. Although it was a sparse crowd, to say the least , the sun did come out, and those fans in attendance were treated to quite a few homers.

Miguel Cabrera went deep on his 35th birthday, and Jeimer Candelario and John Hicks also homered for Detroit. Hicks hit a three-run shot in the eighth that put the Tigers up 5-4.

Danny Valencia hit a solo homer for the Orioles, who have lost five straight.

Detroit's Matthew Boyd allowed a run, two hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings, striking out six. Baltimore's Kevin Gausman allowed two runs and nine hits in six-plus innings.

Cabrera's solo homer put the Tigers up 2-1 in the sixth, but Manny Machado and Chris Davis hit RBI singles as part of a three-run rally by Baltimore in the eighth. The drive by Davis was nearly a home run, but it hit the wall and stayed in play.

"There were obviously a couple bad breaks -- our ball hits the top of the fence and comes back and their ball goes over -- but there were four or five breaks we got during the game on bounces or pitch calls," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "If you lose focus and start feeling sorry for yourselves, every team you play is going to take advantage and step on your throat."