Orioles are now expected to compete year in and year out
Last winter, Buck Showalter was pleased with his new acquisition. “Gardy told me it killed him to lose Casilla,” he said.
Ron Gardenhire, the longtime Minnesota Twins manager, had a prime seat to watch Alexi Casilla’s career, and he was sorry to lose Casilla on waivers to the Orioles.
Casilla batted .214 in 62 games this season, and just like Gardenhire, Showalter is raving about him, too.
“There hasn’t been a better teammate in baseball than Alexi Casilla,” Showalter said.
Casilla’s primary asset, as a basestealer, but he only ran 11 times. He was successful in nine of those.
The Orioles paid Casilla $1.7 million this year. They hold a $3 million option, but almost certainly will decline it and buy out the year for $200,000.
“He’s the one guy who I wished I’d been able to play him more. Whether it’s with us or somebody else, they’re going to get a good teammate and good player next year. He’s allowed us to do a lot of things that we couldn’t have done because of his versatility,” Showalter said.
Showalter played Ryan Flaherty and Brian Roberts, and for a time even Yamaico Navarro ahead of Casilla.
Casilla’s most remarkable play was on June 15 when he misjudged a fly ball and ended the game on third base instead of running back to first. He was easily doubled up and insisted he hadn’t forgotten the number of outs, just misread the arc of Ryan Flaherty’s fly to right.
In the same inning that Manny Machado suffered his knee injury, Casilla collided with Nick Markakis. He nearly made a wonderful diving catch. Instead, he suffered head and thumb injuries that cost him the last six games.
“It may not have always shown up on the field, but he was as consistent a person as you could be, and he’s gotten my respect,” Showalter said.
NOTES: Chris Davis is one of three finalists for the Players Choice Award’s Outstanding Player in the American League. He’s also one of three finalists for the Player of the Year.
The awards will be announced on November 4 on MLB Network at 8 p.m.
Davis is competing against Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera and Los Angeles’ Mike Trout for AL Outstanding Player. Cabrera and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw are his competitors for Player of the Year.
-Adam Jones will analyze American League Division Series games on Oct. 6 and 7 for MLB Network.