Faced with a glut of outfielders that forced them to carry more outfielders than relievers for nearly a week, the Orioles designated outfielder Delmon Young for assignment Wednesday to make room for reliever Tyler Wilson.
"They're all difficult," executive vice president Dan Duquette said of the move. "We wrestle with these decisions and hash them out and go back and forth and try to develop more options for the team to keep all the players in the organization, but we couldn't come up with a solution to this roster move because we don't have the flexibility in our roster that we've had in the past."
In the end, the need to add a relief pitcher to a shorthanded bullpen won out. The Orioles typically cycle through fresh relievers by utilizing all young pitchers with minor league options. Most of those pieces are already in the minors.
In their stead, the Orioles have added outfielders. Both Nolan Reimold and Chris Parmelee joined the outfield equation in June, joining Young, David Lough, Travis Snider, Steve Pearce and Jimmy Paredes in a rotation on either side of center fielder Adam Jones.
"Buck likes to go with the extra pitcher, and there's a lot of good reasons to have an extra pitcher on the roster — particularly if you have stress on your starting pitching or you get into an extra-inning game, you have a fresh bullpen every night," Duquette said.
"We do have some other options on the bench. Delmon Young did a nice job for the team. He had a good year last year, a really good year last year, and has contributed to this year's ballclub."
Young, a 2014 playoff hero, has seen his playing time diminish over the last few weeks with the emergence of Parmelee, who can play first base and corner outfield, along with the resurgence of designated hitter Paredes.
For the season, Young, 29, is hitting .270 with a .289 on-base percentage, .339 slugging percentage, two homers and 16 RBIs in 174 at-bats. He signed a one-year deal with the Orioles in January worth $2.25 million plus incentives – he's due roughly the last $1.2 million of that this season.
In 2014, Young signed a one-year, $1 million deal and was tremendous in spurts for the Orioles, hitting .302 with seven homers, and was 10-for-20 as a pinch hitter. His biggest moment came in the eighth inning of Game 2 of the American League Division Series, when he hit a pinch-hit three-run double to give the Orioles the lead and eventual win over the Detroit Tigers. Camden Yards arguably has never been louder.
"There's not a right decision there," Showalter said. "Nobody is trying to present it as such. We've got good quality people and you reach a point where you can't keep them all. Unfortunately, we're probably not done. It tugs at your chest. ... But we exhausted every possibility and as we go forward there's not a good decision to make."
By designating Young for assignment, the club has 10 days to trade, release or put him through waivers. As a veteran, he could then become a free agent if no one claims him.
He will surely generate interest from clubs looking for a solid right-handed bat with playoff experience. He is a .262 hitter with nine home runs in 37 career postseason games. He has been in the playoffs each of the past six seasons – currently the longest streak for an active major leaguer.
Before the game, manager Buck Showalter said the move they'd need to make to add Wilson would see a player get a chance elsewhere in the majors.
"We've got a lot of good players," Showalter said. "I take solace, not satisfaction, but feel good that someone's going to end up in the big leagues that's in the big leagues with us. That's why the system's there to protect those guys, and it should be, to keep certain teams from hoarding players."
The move gives the Orioles an added bullpen arm for Wednesday's game against the Texas Rangers. Showalter had been operating with a six-man bullpen since left-hander T.J. McFarland was optioned after the second game of Sunday's doubleheader sweep of the Cleveland Indians.
Moves 'challenging' for Gausman
Summoned again from Triple-A Norfolk to start for the Orioles in Thursday's series finale against the Texas Rangers, right-hander Kevin Gausman has the experience to know how to prepare for a start on atypical rest.
"It's been challenging, but I've done it enough now, pitched on less days rest or more days rest to know what I need and what I don't need," he said.
Gausman struck out three, allowed a single and walked two in a brief three-inning outing for the Tides on Sunday. He threw a "touch-and-feel" bullpen session Tuesday that was a little shorter than normal.
His start Thursday will be his second major league start and 10th big league appearance this year. He appeared eight times in relief in the first month of the season before going on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis May 8.
He returned to start on June 20, throwing five innings and allowing two runs in a no-decision against the Blue Jays before he was again optioned to Norfolk.
"It's all part of the process and I'm just trying to get my innings up," Gausman said.
Around the horn
Four Bowie Baysox — pitchers Mychal Givens and Terry Doyle, outfielder Mike Yastrzemski and catcher Rossmel Perez — were named Wednesday to the Western Division roster for the Eastern League All-Star Game. … Doyle, who went 4-0 with a 1.54 ERA in five June starts, was named Orioles Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June. First baseman Trey Mancini, who hit .365 with five home runs in June between High-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie, was the Minor League Player of the Month. … Derwood resident Ren Devereux, 8, will represent the Orioles as one of 24 national finalists in the MLB Pitch, Hit & Run contest during the MLB All-Star festivities in Cincinnati, Ohio. ... Showalter said Reimold will go on paternity leave after Sunday's game, and be off the roster from Monday until Wednesday, giving the team an extra roster spot to use. Showalter said it could be used on second baseman Jonathan Schoop, or a reliever. Reimold must be added back to the roster on Thursday even though the Orioles have a day off.