Last season, Stevie Wilkerson provided the Orioles with some of their more unforgettable moments. He became the first position player in baseball history to record a save, when he pitched a scoreless 16th inning against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.
Wilkerson also made one of the great catches of the season when he fell into the right field stands to rob Jackie Bradley Jr. in the final game of the season at Fenway Park.
He also gallantly played center field for the first time, starting there more often than anyone else.
After playing seven positions, all but catcher and first base, Wilkerson’s Orioles career may have come to an end. The Orioles designated him for assignment on Friday to make room on the roster for right-handed pitcher Travis Lakins, who was claimed on waivers from the Chicago Cubs.
Wilkerson, who was also designated for assignment last March and passed through waivers, played 117 games last season, hitting .225 with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs. He had a .669 OPS.
According to BaseballReference.com, Wilkerson had -.7 Defensive WAR, and with Austin Hays expected to play center field for the Orioles, there was less need for Wilkerson this season.
The Orioles have also acquired utility infielders Pat Valaika and Richard Urena this month, making it more difficult for Wilkerson to find a spot.
Wilkerson came through the minor leagues as an infielder, and the switch-hitter played second base, shortstop and third base in his two years with the Orioles.
The 25-year-old Lakins was a fifth-round draft choice of the Boston Red Sox in 2015 from Ohio State. He was 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 16 games for the Red Sox, who traded him to the Cubs on January 21 for future considerations.
Four of Lakins’ 16 appearances last year came against the Orioles, and he allowed one earned run on four hits in 5 1/3 innings. Lakins walked one and struck out five.
Wilkerson is the second Orioles’ product in the past two days to be designated for assignment. Right-handed pitcher Branden Kline was taken off the 40-man roster to make room for Valaika, who had originally been claimed in October, but lost on waivers to Arizona on January 16.