The Baltimore Orioles have been in search of outfielders for the entire offseason.
They acquired outfielder Seth Smith earlier this offseason for Yovani Gallardo. Smith, 34, who is a left-handed hitter, will likely platoon with a right-handed bat that the Orioles have not signed as of yet.
There are a few names that come to mind though:
Gentry, 33, slashed a measly .131/.213/.190 during the past two seasons. However, he does bring a slash line of .268/.350/.357 against left-handed pitchers. He’s also a solid defender in all three outfield positions, which would be of importance to the Orioles. If Baltimore does sign him, it should be on a minor-league deal for him to get back into the swing of things (No pun intended).
Baltimore knows what they have in Bourn (34). He’s a solid defender who can play center field, right field and left field. Although he isn’t a right-handed hitter, he brings the type of continuity that manager Buck Showalter likes. In 24 games with Baltimore, Bourn batted .283/.358/.435. If the O’s bring him back, he could easily fill the fourth outfielder role.
Raburn, 35, has a career slash line of .261/.341/.487 against lefties, which is solid. He also can play many different positions in the field. He’s known as a corner outfielder, but he has played every infield position except short and has also played center field. Raburn batted .220/.309/.404 in Colorado last season (256 plate appearance), but in Cleveland in 2015, Raburn batted .301/.393/.543 in 201 plate appearances. On a minor league deal, he could eventually fill the platoon role in Baltimore.
The most interesting name that has been brought up is Jennings (30). He was once a highly touted prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, who didn’t really live up to the lofty expectations. Dillon Atkinson of Orioles Uncensored explained why the Orioles may take a flyer on the former Ray:
Jennings was a consistent 3-fWAR player from 2012 through 2014 with the Rays, with the majority of his value coming from his defense, although he wasn’t really a bad hitter at the plate. He hasn’t been close to the same in 2015 or 2016, so he doesn’t have much of any value in this free agent market. With his defensive capabilities, why not go for the low-risk option?
The key is Jennings returning to some semblance of his former self. He has a career batting average of .264 against left-handed pitchers. He could be brought in on a minor league deal, similar to how Delmon Young was brought in. If Jennings performs in the minors and works his way up, it is possible that he could be a big time steal for Baltimore.
Out of the bunch, this would be the best move for Baltimore in my opinion. Gutierrez, 33, is the perfect platoon outfielder with Smith, they both played in Seattle together. Gutierrez batted .246/.329/.452 and hit 14 homers in 283 plate appearances. It definitely wouldn’t hurt Baltimore to have a little extra pop in their lineup. He’s also a right-handed hitter, so he fits all of the needs for the O’s.