Orioles Notes: Valbuena, Saunders, Rasmus, Bourn, Moss, Smith

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The Baltimore Orioles are still looking to add a left-handed bat to their lineup, preferably a right fielder.

They have looked at many different possibilities, including adding third baseman Luis Valbuena.

According to Andrew Simon of MLB.com, Valbuena is the top free-agent remaining. Here’s why:

Valbuena doesn’t hit for high averages or run particularly well, and he will pile up some strikeouts. On the other hand, he has pop, averaging a .442 slugging percentage and 18 homers in 461 plate appearances over the past three seasons, including a career-high 25 long balls in 2015.

Valbuena also has a long track record of patience at the plate. He has posted a walk rate of better than 10 percent for five seasons in a row, and his total of 11.9 percent over that span ranks 17th in the Majors (minimum 2,000 plate appearances). That puts him just behind Giancarlo Stanton and Matt Carpenter.

That all adds up to a hitter who is productive, if unspectacular. After generating a line of .260/.357/.459 over 90 games in 2016, here is how Valbuena’s three-year weighted runs created-plus (wRC+) compares with some other notable third basemen.

Valbuena, 31, had a pretty solid year with the Houston Astros in 2016. He batted .260/.357/.459, hit 13 homers, and drove in 40 runs, but it was only in 90 games due to a hamstring injury. The third baseman has a career slash line of .232/.317/.394 in 798 games. Valbuena could possibly play a role as the DH for the Orioles or give some of the starters in the infield the day off. This move could likely be an alternative to having Ryan Flaherty as the first man off of the bench.

Crasnick also mentioned the possibility of signing one of the following players: Michael Saunders, Michael Bourn, Colby Rasmus, or Brandon Moss:

Saunders was mentioned as a signing that the Orioles could make previously. Bourn batted .283/.358/.435 in 24 games with Baltimore. Although it is a small sample size, Bourn, 34, has proven himself to be a good defender to Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

Rasmus’ name is brought up what seems to be every offseason with the Orioles. Rasmus, 30, batted .206/.286/.355 and hit 15 homers in 2016. He isn’t the high on-base percentage guy that O’s would like to get.

Moss, 33, has played the corner outfield. He also plays first and hit 25 homers last season with the St. Louis Cardinals. His slash line was .225/.300/.484. It would be fair to say that he is in the same boat as Rasmus.

The Orioles could look for a guy that has a higher on-base percentage, as well as a higher batting average and his name is Ángel Pagán. But I digress.

About Kyle Andrews 90 Articles
Born in Norfolk, VA and raised Baltimore, MD. Currently a college student at the University of Baltimore and formerly the sports editor of McDaniel College. Also a former intern of PressBox Online in Baltimore.

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