Orioles purchase 1B Ryan O’Hearn from Royals, including left-handed bat to backup choices – Boston Herald


The Orioles addressed their most obvious remaining offensive want on Tuesday, buying left-handed first baseman Ryan O’Hearn in a money take care of the Kansas Metropolis Royals.

O’Hearn, 29, has performed in 342 video games for Kansas Metropolis over the previous 5 seasons, taking part in each first and cornerback spots. However after slugging .597 in 44 video games in 2018, he is struggled mightily, posting an OPS+ of 73 or decrease, that means he is been at the least 27% beneath league common in every of the previous 4 seasons. The Royals designated him final week to make room for beginning pitcher Jordan Lyles, who signed a two-year contract with Kansas Metropolis after the Orioles declined his $11 million 2023 possibility.

The Orioles have been on the lookout for a lefty fill-in at first base for Ryan Mountcastle, who earlier than the commerce was the one member of Baltimore’s 40-man roster with at the least 10 video games of main league expertise on the place. The New York Submit reported final week that the Orioles have been excited by veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer after the Boston Pink Sox launched him.

Final season, Mountcastle was the Orioles’ beginning first baseman in 123 of their 162 video games, with each different participant not with the group. In latest weeks, Baltimore has designated two pure first basemen in Lewin Diaz and Tyler Nevin, buying and selling them for money to Atlanta and Detroit, respectively.

“He is not going to play 162 video games, nor will he pitch 162,” government vp and normal supervisor Mike Elias stated of Mountcastle in early December. “We’re form of on the lookout for left-handed bats, guys that may come into camp and hit, to return in and compete, break it out or present depth throughout the season, give us some flexibility if there are accidents. And customarily once we take a look at a few of these nook, first base left-handed bat choices, we’re on the lookout for left-handed hitters due to Ryan.”

Earlier than the Royals launched him, O’Hearn signed a $1.4 million deal to keep away from arbitration. Primarily based on arbitration projections, O’Hearn shall be one in all 11 Orioles with a contract price at the least $1 million to make their opening day roster. Baltimore had not more than seven such gamers to start the 2019 by 2022 seasons, in response to Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

However given O’Hearn’s offensive woes, it is not sure he’ll finish camp with Baltimore, even when the group’s different candidates to play behind Mountcastle have primarily had their expertise in pregame drills or the minors somewhat than huge league video games. : O’Hearn nonetheless has a minor league possibility, that means the group would not need to deal him on waivers if it desires to ship him to the minors.

Backup catcher James McCann’s 9 main league video games at first base, all for the New York Mets over the earlier two seasons, make him probably the most skilled first baseman on the Orioles’ 40-man roster behind Mountcastle and O’Hearn. McCann stated in a video name Tuesday that his preliminary conversations with the membership after final month’s commerce from New York included speak of him and rookie catcher Adley Rachman spending time at first.

Rutchman performed the place commonly in school and within the minors to maintain his main bat within the lineup on days he wasn’t catching, however the Orioles averted utilizing him there when he reached the majors, as a substitute placing him at designated hitter. Elias stated earlier final month that any probability of Rutschmann taking part in first in 2023 would rely on the make-up of the remainder of the roster.

The Orioles’ 40-man roster making their first look within the minors consists of outfielder Ramon Urias, outfielder Anthony Santander and leadoff hitter Gunnar Henderson. The final of Urias’ 11 video games there got here in 2018. All 9 of Santander’s matches have are available 2016.

Till two weeks earlier than his Aug. 31 debut, Henderson had made all 213 of his skilled begins within the outfield at both shortstop or third base. However in an effort to extend his versatility earlier than the promotion, 9 of Henderson’s ultimate 11 begins with Triple-A Norfolk got here at first or second. He performed second base 3 times in his first six main league video games, however caught to the left aspect of the sector and was designated hitter in his ultimate 28 appearances. Final month, supervisor Brandon Hyde described Henderson taking part in second as “unfair to him,” so he’ll possible play completely at shortstop or third in 2023.

Santander, Rutschman and infielder Terry Vavra participated in pregame work at first base final season, however none appeared there in opposition to the Orioles. All three can hit left-handed, with Santander and Rutschmann each change hitters, whereas McCann is a right-handed hitter.

The Orioles’ offseason acquisitions additionally embody two minor league signees who’re left-handed hitters with expertise at first base. The Pink Sox have given Frenchy Cordero, a pure outfielder, 55 begins at first base over the previous two seasons, although he hasn’t carried out nicely there. His minus-7 outings above common in 2022 ranked thirty first amongst 36 certified first basemen, in response to Baseball Savant, with not one of the others beneath their estimated success charges. Josh Lester’s solely main league outing got here final yr at third base for the Detroit Tigers, however he has made at the least 10 minor league begins each season since 2017, together with 104 video games there in Triple-A Detroit. in 2022

Even with O’Hearn, the Orioles can proceed to discover upgrades. Hosmer stays accessible, although he is been extra closely linked to the Chicago Cubs currently, presumably assuaging any fears Orioles followers could have that can all the time affiliate Hosmer with the 2014 Kansas Metropolis Royals staff that saved Baltimore from reaching the World Sequence. from exiting. Different left-handed first basemen nonetheless accessible as free brokers embody Edwin Rios, Collin Moran, Brandon Belt and Ben Gamel, all of whom have been price extra wins than O’Hearn in 2022, in response to FanGraphs.

To make room for O’Hearn on their 40-man roster, the Orioles designated minor league right-hander Chris Vallimont for project. The 25-year-old right-hander had a 5.19 ERA in 29 video games, together with 24 begins between Double-A and Triple-A, after being claimed from the Minnesota Twins final season. Baseball America had Vallimont as Baltimore’s No. 27 prospect in its August midseason rankings.



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