The Baltimore Orioles are coming off the busiest week of their off-season following months of inactivity and controversy surrounding General Manager Dan Duquette. After acquiring outfielder Travis Snider from the Pittsburgh Pirates last week, Duquette has made a few more moves in the efforts to make the post-season for the second consecutive year.
Duquette’s possible departure put added stress on an Orioles front office that was unwilling to sign any free agents or make any trades. Since Duquette confirmed that he would be staying in Baltimore just last week, the Orioles have gone out and made a few trades.
This past week, Duquette traded prospect Michael Ohlman to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for cash considerations. Ohlman had been designated for assignment by the Orioles following the acquisition of Travis Snider.
Ohlman, who played both catcher and first base, was an 11th round draft pick by the Orioles in 2009 and has spent the last six seasons in the team’s farm system. He played for the Double-A Bowie Baysox in 2014, hitting just .236 with 2 home runs and 33 RBI’s.
On the same day in which they traded Ohlman, the Orioles also traded utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi, Jr. to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations. The Orioles acquired Lombardozzi from the Detroit Tigers prior to the 2014 season.
Lombardozzi made the Opening Day roster for the Orioles in 2014, but played in just 20 games, hitting .288 with 21 hits in 73 at-bats. The infielder spent most of the year with the Triple-A Norfolk Tides.
For the Orioles, Lombardozzi’s departure means a loss of infield depth at a time in which Manny Machado’s status for Opening Day is in question. The move may also mean, however, that the Orioles are entrusting players like Ryan Flaherty and Jonathan Schoop to hold down the fort in the infield to begin the 2015 season.
In addition to trading away Ohlman and Lombardozzi, the Orioles are close to signing outfielder Nolan Reimold to a minor league contract. Reimold was drafted by the Orioles in 2005 and made his debut with the team in 2009. He played in parts of five seasons for the Orioles, but numerous injuries cut into his playing time.
He was claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays in July 2014, and played in 22 games for the team before being claimed again, this time by the Arizona Diamondbacks. In Arizona, he played in just 7 games, picking up 5 hits in 17 at-bats and hitting a home run.
By signing Reimold, the Orioles add some depth to their outfield, which could be helpful given the losses of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis. While Reimold won’t make up for the losses of those two key members of the 2014 Orioles, he can provide some power and decent defense off of the bench.
Over the course of the past few weeks, the Orioles have also avoided arbitration with many players, including Miguel Gonzalez, Zach Britton, and Steve Pearce. The only unresolved case is that of outfielder Alejandro De Aza, whom the Orioles acquired from the Chicago White Sox last season.
De Aza is considered to be an Opening Day starter in the outfield for the Orioles, and the upcoming arbitration hearing between the outfielder and the team will have ramifications for the Orioles plans in 2015.
The good news is that the Orioles seem to be finally making some moves after months of inaction. Now, fans will just have to wait and see what other moves Duquette has in store to continue improving this Orioles team.