Tap-In Question: How would you fill Steve Pearce's spot if he goes to DL? - BaltimoreBaseball.com
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Tap-In Question: How would you fill Steve Pearce’s spot if he goes to DL?

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon



Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette thought he filled one of the Orioles’ primary holes on Aug. 1 when he dealt High-A catcher Jonah Heim to the Tampa Bay Rays for infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce.

I talked to some people who believe the Orioles paid a lot more for Pearce than they did for veteran lefty Wade Miley, who was acquired July 31 from the Seattle Mariners for lefty Ariel Miranda.

Miranda has already made his Mariners’ debut, and Heim is probably three seasons away.  But Heim is already considered an above-average defender. He hasn’t hit, but he is a big guy (6-foot-3, 190), and the belief is that he’ll begin driving the ball as he matures. So, there is still upside there for the 21-year-old.

The reason the Orioles were willing to give up Heim for a part-time, two-month rental is twofold: One, the Orioles were extremely familiar with Pearce, who played in Baltimore from 2012 to 2015. They know his ability, work ethic and personality.

Secondly, with the exception of not being able to play center field, Pearce was the perfect fit for what the Orioles needed: A right-handed hitter with pop who mashes left-handed pitching and can play multiple defensive positions adequately.

One of the unfortunate things the Orioles know about Pearce, however, is that he has been beset by injuries for much of his career, partially because he works so hard to prepare for games. In the past, Orioles manager Buck Showalter has practically banned Pearce from the batting cage because he wasn’t allowing his sore wrists to heal.

It was reported Sunday that Pearce has undergone a cortisone shot in his right elbow because he is dealing with flexor mass discomfort. Anytime that phrase is mentioned, baseball people wince. So many times a flexor mass issue has turned into elbow ligament surgery.

At this point, the Orioles and Pearce don’t think the situation is serious. He told reporters he could be back in a couple days. But, if he isn’t, the Orioles need to figure out a solution to fill the void that Pearce just filled.

That’s where Tap Room patrons come in. I want to hear what you would do if you were Duquette, and Pearce has to be shelved. In a little more than three weeks, rosters expand and several outfielders can be called up. Joey Rickard (thumb) could be off the DL by then.

But, in a heated pennant race, can the Orioles afford to do nothing to bridge that gap?

One possibility is, as manager Buck Showalter would say, take the governors off outfielder Hyun Soo Kim and see if the Korean lefty can solve left-handers the way he has handled right-handers. Play Kim full-time and see what you really have.

Another possibility is handing the left field keys versus left-handers to Nolan Reimold. Make it unquestionably his job, play him some against righties to keep him sharp, and let this be the final exam.

The 32-year-old has been with the Orioles for parts of seven seasons. We’ve seen him good, not-so good and hurt. He has struggled this year in limited action (.230, five homers in 180 plate appearances) and has been particularly rough against southpaws (.197 in 76 at-bats).

Maybe you ratchet up Reimold’s playing time this month and watch him sink or swim.

There are plenty of outfield options in the minors, but none particularly inspiring. That’s why the Orioles acquired Pearce. But for a stop-gap, they could recall Julio Borbon or Dariel Alvarez or promote someone else and give them a chance such as Mike Yastrzemski, Christian Walker, Xavier Avery or L.J. Hoes. None in that foursome has torn it up at Triple-A though (Walker has the best average of the group at .257).

The other alternative is for Duquette to go back to the trade route. He can still make deals in August, but any big leaguers switching clubs must first clear trade waivers. Anyone the Orioles would target at this point as a fourth outfielder should get through without being claimed. But, the flip side of that, is you’re only going to get a gap-filler and may have to give up another Heim-type to do it.

Maybe I’m getting too far ahead of things right now. It’s possible Pearce is barely out and the Orioles quickly weather another storm. But we like to plan here at Connolly’s. And I guarantee you Showalter has done that, too. He’s probably got Plans B through J already figured out.

So put on your GM/manager’s hat (it’s made of bar napkins). If Pearce is lost for 15 days, how do you bridge the gap to September call-ups? Do you make a trade, do you promote someone from the minors and give them lots of playing time or do you rely on a current player to pick up the slack?

Tap-In Question: If Pearce goes to the DL, how would you fill his vacancy?



  1. rebusgadfly

    August 9, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Greetings Dan,

    Thanks for the coffee. (puts tip money in jar). Since we are unsure of the extent of Pearce’s injury, I agree with your suggestion of staying within the organization. I am not for losing prospects for a rental player that when Pearce is healthy is irrelevant. Next man up, my brother! Let’s see if Kim can hit left-handers if not test Nolan’s endurance with additional playing time. I beg Duquette not to make a trade, look how well the last one with the Marlins went. How did Pierce get through the Glen Davis memorial physical (the physical all future Orioles go through to protect the club from losing young prospects to gain an injury, prone players. (why yes I am still bitter about the Glenn Davis trade) (stopping coffee at only three cups today hands are shaking thinking about Schelling, Finley, and Harnish ….Oh the humanity) Let’s not make a trade and promote from within and expand the roles of those already on the team.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 9, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      I would tend to agree. About Kim, Glenn Davis and your shaking hands.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 9, 2016 at 8:53 am

    I concur with my bitter friend sitting at the end of the bar. Stay within the organization. But on the other hand, it’s past 8:30 AM, why are we still drinking coffee?

    • rebusgadfly

      August 9, 2016 at 10:24 am

      why good sir…we drink coffee all day long 🙂

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 9, 2016 at 11:54 am

        Any Bourbon in the coffee?

        • Dan Connolly

          August 9, 2016 at 12:41 pm

          Bourbon or Borbon (it’s my job to keep you all on task).

  3. ZantiGM

    August 9, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Borbon? Walker? D.Alvarez? Waiver deal? Markakis? Francour?

    • Dan Connolly

      August 9, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      My guess is Borbon or Alvarez would be the most likely to be promoted from within. The Braves’ guys you mentioned could get through trade waivers, but what you’d have to give up is the question.

  4. rebusgadfly

    August 9, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    nah just straight black (like the night) coffee

  5. BmoreJack

    August 9, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Orioles deep at catcher in minors, so any handwringing over a guy that probably won’t hit but can field his position ie catch a baseball, is a bit much. Let’s throw any criticism for that move out the window. Immediately. As for the question, bring up Mikey Yaz and see what he’s got. We’ve seen all the other guys. Like Kim, some guys shine when the lights are on, and some don’t. I’m not enamored with numbers in the minors, good or bad.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 9, 2016 at 2:01 pm

      Yaz …. now THAT is an interesting idea. I was thinking Mancini, but he’s not an outfielder. Nice call Jack!

  6. writerjmk44

    August 9, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    1) See what’s up with Pearce.
    2) Let Kim play against lefties to see what he can do (he’s been doubted before)
    3) Give Reimold a shot at more ABs
    3) Worst-case scenario is to promote Borbon (at least he adds speed and dependable OF defense.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 10, 2016 at 9:11 am

      Reasonable thoughts.

  7. writerjmk44

    August 9, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    That worst-case scenario was 4).

  8. AlaskanOsFan

    August 10, 2016 at 3:47 am

    Call up Yaz and Bourbon..team has zero speed right now..dump Nolan sorry but he is that coffee u get with your MRE when deployed, expired….if Yaz doesn’t work then try Walker…

    • Dan Connolly

      August 10, 2016 at 9:12 am

      Yaz and Bourbon is gonna be our next featured drink.

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