Who is the 2014 Orioles' most irreplaceable player?

The Baltimore Sun

Welcome back to the bar. Missed you.

Really, I primarily missed your tips, but our lack of interaction created a void, too (a subtle plea for better tips).

The Orioles received news on two of their injured players Tuesday.

Third baseman Manny Machado underwent a MRI and was diagnosed with a sprained ligament in his right knee. There doesn’t appear to be a tear, which is good news. The likelihood is that he ends up on the disabled list – that’s “under consideration,” said Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette -- but that won’t officially be determined until Wednesday. It sounds like he’s not lost for the season, though, which would be important.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy also has a MRI on Tuesday and has a sprained left thumb. He is day-to-day and, though he’s not expected to play Wednesday, he potentially could be back in the lineup by Friday.

The injuries reminded me of a question I posed to some colleagues in spring training: Which Oriole was most irreplaceable? The consensus was catcher Matt Wieters, because of the position he plays, the leadership he brings and the dearth of catching throughout baseball.

Well, Wieters hasn’t played since May and the Orioles haven’t been this far ahead in first place since 1997. Again, I’m a genius. But, really, who expected rookie Caleb Joseph and veteran Nick Hundley, who was with the San Diego Padres to start the season, would stabilize the position?

I guess that’s what makes today’s question somewhat hard to answer. We don’t know what an unheralded player will do when given a chance to prove himself. That’s been one of the themes of this season. Joseph, Zach Britton, Steve Pearce and Brad Brach, among others, have really seized opportunities this year. Orioles manager Buck Showalter takes great pride in the way his players have picked up one another when injuries have occurred. I understand that baseball is not an individual’s game. But, honestly, some losses are more important than others.

I guess my vote right now for most irreplaceable would be Adam Jones, since David Lough has not hit as hoped and the Orioles don’t have any other true center fielders on the 25-man roster.

So who’s yours?

Daily Think Special: Who is this club’s most irreplaceable player?

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