Well, how do you like the offseason now? With two moves in as many days, the Orioles can point to two tangible acquisitions, and the Dan Duquette’s strategy is becoming clearer.
Grant Balfour one day, David Lough the next. Lough had a good enough year that he got a third-place vote for Rookie of the Year. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, voted for Lough.
He hasn’t played much left field, but that will be his position in 2014. Unless the Orioles acquire another outfielder. Lough will be the starting left fielder.
Lough is a left-handed hitter, but he doesn’t necessarily have to platoon. He actually hit left-handers for a higher average, .292, than he did right-handers. He hit .284 versus righties.
He joins Steve Pearce, Francisco Peguero, Nolan Reimold and Henry Urrutia as contenders for left and DH. Duquette mentioned the Rule 5 draftee Michael Almanzar and minor league signee Chris Marrero as possible replacements for Danny Valencia at DH.
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Julio Borbon, another left-handed hitter, who was acquired in the Triple-A segment of the Rule 5 draft, will probably also be invited to camp.
Fans remember Valencia as a feared hitter against lefties, but he endured a painful 0-for-23 streak as well as an incredible hot streak in August and early September. Once Manny Machado was hurt and he had to play against right-handers, Valencia cooled off.
Once Balfour passes his physical and is officially added to the roster, exactly a quarter of the 40-man roster will have been acquired since the season ended.
The additions of Almanzar, Peguero, Edgmer Escalona, Kelvim De La Cruz, Brad Brach, Johnny Monell and Jemile Weeks don’t thrill fans, but adding Balfour, Lough and Ryan Webb, gives fans something to look to.
There are still a few more moves to make, but at least the offseason now has some substance.