According to Roch Kubatko, Felix Pie is out of the lineup again today, as the Orioles will face Toronto’s rookie right-hander Robert Ray. Could this mean the Pie experiment is coming to an end?
Norfolk’s Nolan Reimold hit another home run last night, and Orioles scouts are reportedly watching the 25-year-old outfielder closely. Reimold is hitting .413 with eight home runs and 24 RBI in the International League.
It makes little sense to be sitting Pie again if the organization is not viewing a Reimold promotion as imminent. Facing the Toronto rookie would logically be a good matchup for the struggling left fielder. Pie’s 51 at bats are a small sample size, but it’s impossible to ignore the ridiculous numbers Reimold is posting at Triple A. Reimold hit 25 home runs at Bowie last season.
If and when Reimold is promoted, what do you do with Pie? The organization would have to pass him through waivers to send him to Norfolk, an unlikely proposition. The decision to bring up Reimold should be more about his dynamic performance at Norfolk—not because of Pie’s struggles.
Pie has certainly looked lost, both at the plate and in left field, but it’s unfair to totally dismiss a former-No.1 prospect after 51 at bats. It’s the exact thing the Cubs did last season, so if the Orioles are going to do the same thing, why even bother to acquire him in the first place?
The most logical plan would be to insert Reimold as the left fielder, slide Pie to the fourth outfielder spot, and option Lou Montanez to Norfolk.
Montanez will have more opportunities with the Orioles this season, especially if Pie does not show any improvement in a reserve role. While Montanez put up impressive minor league numbers in 2008, he is still a 27-year-old outfielder that did not produce at a high level in Double A until last year, his fourth season at the level. Reimold and Pie need to take priority before Montanez.
With Reimold on the brink of a promotion and Matt Wieters close behind, the Baltimore lineup could look very different in the near future.
(UPDATE: Watching Amber Theoharis’ interview with Terry Crowley in today’s pregame show, it’s clear the writing is on the wall. Crowley even said he won’t be playing as often and would get to play “once in awhile.”)