Elias says Broxton will add speed and defense to Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Elias says Broxton will add speed and defense to Orioles

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—The Orioles acquired centerfielder Keon Broxton from the New York Mets on Wednesday, and general manager Mike Elias is confident he’ll help the team.

Broxton was designated for assignment by the Mets after hitting .143 in 34 games and was traded to the Orioles for $500,000 in international bonus money.

Broxton, 29, who had 20 home runs for Milwaukee in 2017 along with a .220 average and 175 strikeouts, is expected to play center field for the Orioles.

“We had our eye on him,” Elias said. “Speed, excellent center field ability. He’s got some raw power.”

Manager Brandon Hyde, who saw a lot of Broxton when he was a coach with the Chicago Cubs, said he expected his new player in “a day or two.”

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Stevie Wilkerson has been starting in center field, but Elias said that Broxton will get playing time.

“We’re trying some different things in center field,” Elias said. “We wanted to give him a look and, hopefully, give him maybe a little bit more extended time than he’s had.”

A roster move must be made to add Broxton when he arrives, and Joey Rickard, who has options remaining, could be cut.

The Orioles also acquired minor league right-hander Chandler Shepherd on waivers from the Cubs. To make room for Broxton and Shepherd on the 40-man roster, they transferred Alex Cobb from the 10-day to 60-day injured list and designated right-handed pitcher Yefry Ramirez for assignment.

Near the end of spring training, Elias said that he wanted some of the Orioles’ top prospects to spend more time in Triple-A to put together sustained success before they’re added to the major league roster.

“It’s good to see some of the guys are doing really well down there,” Elias said. “[Chance] Sisco is doing really well down there. DJ Stewart is doing really well right now, and that’s very much on our radar right now.”

Stewart entered Wednesday’s game hitting .285 for Norfolk with eight home runs and 31 RBIs. He also has a .400 on-base percentage.

“In DJ Stewart’s case, we have two corner outfielders up here with [Trey] Mancini and [Dwight] Smith, who are doing great,” Elias said. “It’s just hard to find an easy way to get him here, but we would love to have him join this team. I’m hopeful that we can figure out how to do that on the sooner side.”

Sisco is batting 258 with seven homers and 30 RBIs for the Tides with a .370 OBP. His catching skills have been questioned and he has thrown out just five of 28 (18 percent) base-stealers.

“As I’ve said all along, Sisco is somebody we’re counting on, and we care a lot about,” Elias said. “We want to get him up here at the right time. Maybe that’s soon, too.”

While Sisco and Stewart could come relatively soon, Elias isn’t suggesting early recalls for infielder Ryan Mountcastle or left-handed starter Keegan Akin, both in their first year in Triple-A.

“I categorize Ryan a little different,” Elias said “He hasn’t played in the majors, yet. He’s extremely young (22) for Triple-A.”

Mountcastle is hitting .323 with seven homers and 31 RBIs but has walked just seven times and needs to prove he can hit against pitchers he’s seeing multiple times, Elias said.

“He’s got a lot of work to do defensively still at third or even at first,” Elias said. “We might even start taking a look at him in the outfield when we get opportunities. There’s a lot more development for a guy like him.”

Mountcastle’s path could be impeded if Mark Trumbo returns from the 60-day injured list. Trumbo is rehabbing in Sarasota from September surgery on his right knee and could begin a minor league rehab assignment relatively soon.

“When you’re a corner defender ,whether it’s first base or left or right, you’re competing with more people for playing time,” Elias said. “There are so many people that can go play those positions. Not everyone can catch or play short or play center. Any time your defensive options are limited, it’s harder to break rosters. It’s more competition when you’re on a roster.

“With Ryan, we want to give him some different options and get him as skilled defensively as we can.”

Akin is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in eight starts.

“I’m excited about him,” Elias said. “Always have been, looking at what he’s done so far in the minor leagues … one of those guys that we’re extremely hopeful on and counting on to be a future rotation piece here, so we want to make sure he has the proper footing to do that. I don’t think a month-and-a-half in Triple-A is the end of that story. I just hope he keeps doing what he’s doing.”

Feeling a draft: Elias said that he hasn’t decided who the Orioles will select with the top pick in the June 3 draft. He also said that once the international signing period begins on July 2, he expects the Orioles to be more active than they’ve ever been.

“We are pushing out as a full-fledged international scouting operation,” Elias said. “That will take some time. The way the market works down there, some of the behind-the-scenes advance work that goes on has been done for two years now or more.

“We don’t have a full slate of players available to us, but that said, July 2 is coming, the international signing period will open, and it will be the largest international signing period the Orioles have ever had.”

Elias said that on and right after July 2, the Orioles will be announcing multiple signings.

Progress report: Elias is also optimistic about the current state of the Orioles.

“There have been good things so far with the major league team play,” Elias said. “The win-loss record is not one of those good things … We’d like to see it get better. We’d like to play at a little better win clip than this.

“…If we’re able to add a couple of guys and have them stick and be pieces here, that would make this year a huge success. We’ve got a big effort on our hands. This is the beginning of it. We all know what this looks like. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to push harder to get better, but it’s where we’re at right now.”

Elias has Hyde’s back.

“I think he’s done an excellent job,” Elias said. “It’s a difficult circumstance with a young team, a lot of players coming in from all different directions, guys coming and going, a lot of guys not really with us during spring training.

“I know the players have received his message very well. He’s done a great job looking out for the best interests of the players without putting pitchers in uncomfortable positions even though we’re stretched thin at times and our guys have been throwing a lot of pitches, and in some cases getting beat up. He’s done a terrific job. I’m really happy he’s here.”

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Orial

    May 22, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    A move that almost had to be made. The outfield as it now stands is dreadful. One aspect that surprised/dissappointed me( other than his offensive shortcomings) is his age(29). A stop gap. What’s really curious though is why the Mets would accept International slot money at this stage.

    • Jbigle1

      May 22, 2019 at 7:45 pm

      Well for 500K of international money in a period that is all but over you certainly aren’t getting a guy with anymore upside than Broxton. If he works then that’s great there’s a tradable asset. We went the prospect route with Mullins and we all saw those results….Hopefully this means more time for Wilkerson at 2B and less of Alberto.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 22, 2019 at 8:50 pm

      It’s face saving, Orial. The Mets can say they got something for a player they would have otherwise released.

    • Raymo

      May 22, 2019 at 9:53 pm

      Rich, does this mean the Orioles actually sent $500,000 to the Mets, or does it just give the Mets the right to spend $500,000 of their own in the international market?

      • Rich Dubroff

        May 22, 2019 at 10:01 pm

        It gives the Mets the right to spend $500,000 more than they had before, Raymo.

  2. Jbigle1

    May 22, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    Well I did see this one coming. I like that move a lot. Broxton has his strikeout issues but he’s a legitimate defensive CF. Maybe even a better defensive CF than a prime AJ. He’s a welcome addition.

  3. Bancells Moustache

    May 22, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    As soon as he got canned by the Mets I knew this was happening. Broxton is the kind of cheap, terrible player that management can dress up as a “big league veteran” in order to pretend they helped the Major League team. I realize it cost us $500K in Pesos, but since everyone knows that it will take Elias at least a decade to reconnect with all of the Latin American scouts after having it erased from his memory upon leaving Houston, it’s not a big deal.

    Fun fact: the difference in payroll almost directly correlates to the amount the franchise has to pay Washington in the MASN ruling. But, yeah, totally committed to building a winner…

    • SailinO

      May 23, 2019 at 7:02 am

      There are different ways to build a winner. The big splashy way is to go sign and overpay a bunch of stars and take your chances. Another approach is to “build a talent pipeline”. It’s nowhere near as flashy but is a much more sustainable approach for a middle market team. Most of the players we see today will be gone in 3 years.

  4. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    May 22, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    The Mets had a surplus of veteran center fielders in the minors. Two were recently promoted due to injuries. This made Broxton expendable who will improve their defense. I am glad the Orioles moved Cobb to the 60 day Il. This freed up a 40 man roster spot giving them another pitcher they can use.

    • Bancells Moustache

      May 22, 2019 at 8:08 pm

      Another pitcher such as?

      At this point they may as well put Dubroff out there to eat some innings

      • Rich Dubroff

        May 22, 2019 at 8:52 pm

        I think your arm is better than mine at this point, Bancells!

    • Orial

      May 23, 2019 at 10:55 am

      The Netslike the O’s,have an awful OF. Everybody playing out of position.

  5. PC in OC

    May 22, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    When is this going to stop. We have better players in our system. Signing Braxton, will only stop one of our talented outfielders, from joining the Orioles and might even discourage some of them. They are working their BUTTS OFF, only to see someone over the hill or released ( because they couldn’t cut the mustard ) and the Orioles, once again, are going to take a chance on him and who knows, he might turn out to be the next Trout. That’s BUll Sh—. Enough is Enough. We all know what or who is the problem. I never thought, that I would wish for this. But,.Here goes, I would like for the Orioles to lose the Masn case and Angelos, loses his pants and sells the team to someone who cares. For Damn Sure, Angelos, Doesn’t. I go to almost every game and I live 3 hrs away. The Orioles are my Team and will be, for as long as I live. This scenario has gone on for to long and it’s got to stop. My Mother was a very good friend of Peter Angelos. If she was alive today, Heads Would Roll!!!!!!!

    • Tony Paparella

      May 23, 2019 at 9:21 am

      I think your aggravation of what is going on with Birds is clouding your mind,LOL. We all feel the same way as you but I don’t believe for a minute that a guy that drives 3 hours to attend almost all the Oriole games wants the team to move away.We have to be patient as dedicated fans.

    • Orial

      May 23, 2019 at 10:59 am

      Watch out what you wish for. Most buyers would love to move the team to Las Vegas. At least the Angelos’ are committed to Baltimore.

  6. Jbigle1

    May 22, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    I can’t believe we let Yefry go before Straily. This clown gives you absolutely nothing every time he takes the ball. We didn’t give him any money there’s no reason to suffer through any more of these clunkers. He can’t eat innings or pitch effectively in short bursts. Hess isn’t any better but maybe if he isn’t playing the Yankees he can give us 5 innings. We need to be active on the waiver wire and add some new arms. Any SP that is designated should be considered at this point. We can’t turn to Rogers or Ortiz with their high 6 ERA’s in AAA.

  7. cb

    May 22, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    Another hole in the lineup.

  8. Bug O 1

    May 23, 2019 at 1:50 am

    can’t hit! How can that help

  9. Boog Robinson Robinson

    May 23, 2019 at 6:59 am

    Is that Dan Duquette I hear LHAO in the distance?

    • SailinO

      May 23, 2019 at 9:03 am

      Yeah, he is LHAO while unemployed, it appears mlb is not interested in him, or Bartolo Colon, or Big game James Shields. Hmmm you could field a nice core with that trio!

    • Bmoreravens3

      May 25, 2019 at 12:50 am

      Who in their right mind would give Duquette another chance after he left us in this current position we’re in

  10. CalsPals

    May 23, 2019 at 9:07 am

    Putting lipstick on a pig, still a pig….

    • Tony Paparella

      May 23, 2019 at 9:47 am

      C’mon,you are not being fair calling the Orioles (situation)as pigs.It may sound appropriate at the time but I like to look at it maybe as an old beat up classic car (or such) that is undergoing a restoration.

    • CalsPals

      May 23, 2019 at 5:23 pm

      Wasn’t referring to the O’s, colon was who I meant, I like classic cars, have a 69 Z/28, no lipstick needed…lol

  11. Tony Paparella

    May 23, 2019 at 9:39 am

    As recent as late last nite I was confused by the Elias move of picking up Broxton and the pitcher with the ridiculous ERA but I am looking at things the way Elias is thinking.There has been some unconcious defense in the outfield and that includes by veterans also.Broxton should help that some and replace guys like Stevie W who are somewhat out of their element (though he has played ok there) and really act as somewhat of a stopgap for the time being.Seems to me Elias is going to wait to the last minute or as long as possible to bring up the guys that may be the nucleous of the Orioles of the future.Of course they all are not going to make it up there but I believe the organization is counting on some of them.I am not sure however what the reasoning is (maybe R.D. has an opinion)to hold off other than what Elias said but some down there seem ready now.I also now believe that Mancini will be leaving as they are not going to want to pay him what he is worth at the moment as they have probably had discussions to that effect.I also would like to know Rich’s thinking on Mancini ? But anyway Broxton is a temporary fix and only cost international money and right now the Orioles must believe there is no one spectacular enough to waste that money on this year.

  12. Puyerunner

    May 23, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Braxton has proven he cannot hit. .378 . . . Strikeout rate in his only full season. His defensive numbers are good, but not good enough to justify inserting him in the lineup everyday. Do the Os think they can turn his hitting around? Why all the PR? We need a center fielder, but unless he is a complete surprise at the plate, he’s gone by the end of July.

  13. Puyerunner

    May 23, 2019 at 9:45 am

    Broxton has proven he cannot hit. .378 . . . Strikeout rate in his only full season. His defensive numbers are good, but not good enough to justify inserting him in the lineup everyday. Do the Os think they can turn his hitting around? Why all the PR? We need a center fielder, but unless he is a complete surprise at the plate, he’s gone by the end of July.

  14. NormOs

    May 23, 2019 at 11:29 am

    That’s what this train wreck needed, another .140 hitter!……Unbelievable! I wonder what the O’s are doing with all the money they’re not spending on any MAJOR LEAGUE PLAYERS?

    • ClayDal

      May 23, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      Broxton did hit 20 hrs in 2017 so he was worth a shot. He is a major league center fielder so he can at least play cf against left handers Could be an upgrade over Rickard. As to what they do with their money , Mike Elias said they were devoting their resources to player development. They are setting up an apparatus in Latin America and they plan to be active internationally on free agents in July. Teams are allowed to spend 4.75 million on international players, but contrary to popular belief there is no allotment of money to sign them. The money comes out of the Angelos piggy bank as does the 13.2 million pool to sign their top 4 draft choices. As for signing MLB free agents unfortunately when you are 47-115 in order to get players to come here you have to overpay. Especially pitchers. Orioles are a small-to-mid market team and have to allot their resources accordingly

  15. Raymo

    May 23, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    I sure hope Braxton has a better arm than Mullins, otherwise I don’t see any benefit. Both play good D, and both can’t hit.

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