You know that piece earlier Wednesday? When I wrote about how the Orioles are trying to improve their bullpen for the stretch run by trading for lefty reliever Kyle Lobstein?
Well, put that on hold for a moment.
Shortly after the Orioles acquired Lobstein from the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league reliever Zach Phillips, the Orioles designated Lobstein for assignment – meaning they removed him from their 40-man roster – to add veteran outfielder Drew Stubbs as a waiver claim from the Texas Rangers.
Stubbs, 31, has played in 39 games this season with the Rangers and Atlanta Braves, batting a combined .259 with a .343 on-base percentage. In an eight-season career, Stubbs, a right-handed hitter, has batted .244 with a .314 on-base percentage.
A former first-round pick (eighth overall) in 2006, Stubbs is primarily a center fielder and fits the criteria that the Orioles have been looking for in a fourth outfielder: right-handed, speedy, ability to play all three defensive positions.
He’s also batted at leadoff (201 starts) more than any other lineup spot in his career.
And Stubbs is an accomplished basestealer; he’s been successful in 160 of his 193 attempts and stole 40 bases in 2011. He also had 10 or more homers in five consecutive seasons from 2010 to 2014.
But, like most Orioles, he’s a free-swinger. He led the majors with 205 strikeouts in 2011 and has fanned 27 times in 58 at-bats this year.
So what do I make of these moves?
Well, Stubbs is a major leaguer; he’s played with five teams and seemingly always finds a job. He is probably a better fit for what this team needs right now — with Adam Jones hurt — than Nolan Reimold, Julio Borbon or Chris Dickerson.
And it’s just a waiver claim, so the Orioles didn’t give up anything except they’ll be paying for what’s left of Stubbs’ $508,000 salary in 2016 (not much).
But, frankly I’d rather have a lefty reliever than a fourth outfielder at this point. It’s possible the Orioles will get both if Lobstein passes through waivers. The Orioles must have been pretty confident he would when they made the move, because they desperately need someone who can retire lefties effectively.
You also have to wonder if this means anything more about Jones’ hamstring. But my guess is no, that Jones will get one more day to rest on Thursday’s off day before returning Friday. Since Joey Rickard is not expected back until mid-September the earliest, an extra outfielder is a consideration.
More than anything, though, I just think these are typical Dan Duquette moves on the last day you can acquire a player for the postseason roster. It’s a flurry of “they-did-what?” transactions that probably won’t make a difference. Until, of course, one does.
Duquette’s all about throwing things against the wall to see what sticks. He’s already done that twice Wednesday. And for much of his Orioles’ tenure.