It was clear during today’s game and for a large portion of this season that the Orioles seemed to have moved past aging and injury-plagued second basemen Brian Roberts. With Robert Andino becoming an everyday player until his recent shoulder injury and Omar Quintanilla continuing his hot streak at the plate with a home run today, the Orioles seemed to have found solid, not great, second baseman that can fill the void that Roberts has left the team in for the past few years. Today, Roberts said he would have season-ending hip surgery, ending another injury-shortened season for the Orioles veteran.
Over the past three seasons, Roberts has played a combined 115 games. Considering the Orioles play a 162 game schedule, you do the math on how many games he’s missed (371 if you don’t feel like doing it). For a guy that signed a four-year, $40 million contract through 2013 he hasn’t exactly showed up to work much. He has one more year left on the deal where is due to make $10 million, but will he even contribute to this club next year?
The Orioles have gone to several options at second base to try and fill Roberts’ absence. Robert Andino was the everyday starter until he injured his shoulder and was placed on the disabled list July 17. The problems I have with Andino are his inconsistency in the field (12 errors) and the amount of times he strikes out (73). While striking out is a common problem on the Orioles, and making errors as well, it still shows signs that he hasn’t fully adjusted to being an everyday player. Last year, he appeared in 139 games, but scattered throughout the field as he was more of a utility player than second basemen. I think if the Orioles are patient with Andino, next year will be his breakout year as he will have basically a full season under his belt.
As of late, recent pickup Omar Quintanilla has been making Buck Showalter’s job more difficult in trying to figure out who is going to play second base. In the weekend series against the Oakland Athletics, Quintanilla shined going 7-13, with his first homer and RBI for the Birds in today’s game. While he did make an error on an easy ground ball that appeared to be a double play ball, for the most part he’s played well in the field. His hitting has grabbed the attention of the fans who probably had no idea who he was before he came to Baltimore. It will be interesting to see what Buck Showalter does with him once Andino comes off the disabled list, considering he his bat has somewhat ignited an on-again, off-again lineup.
As for Roberts, the future looks dismal for the 34-year-old, who turns 35 in October. Will the Orioles save a spot for him on the roster next year? I suggest not. How can you rely on a guy that has proven in recent years that he can not stay healthy? I loved watching him play earlier in his career as he was the heart of soul of the Orioles lineup. He was arguably one of the best lead-off hitters and base-runners in baseball. However, the injury bug has bit him far too many times since 2010 and it is time to move forward.