xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Efren Navarro's defense could land him on Orioles roster; Hyun-soo Kim arrives in U.S.

Los Angeles Angels' Efren Navarro gets ready for his at-bat during the fourth inning against the Houston Astros, Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in Anaheim, Calif.
Los Angeles Angels' Efren Navarro gets ready for his at-bat during the fourth inning against the Houston Astros, Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in Anaheim, Calif. (Jae C. Hong / AP)

At first glance, the Orioles' acquisition of first baseman/outfielder Efren Navarro on Tuesday appeared to be another one of the many deals for cash that occur every offseason and most fans forget about easily.

But the 29-year-old Navarro could find a home with the Orioles. First, he's a defensive-minded player who can play multiple positions, and that's how you win a roster spot under manager Buck Showalter. His stats show that he was an exemplary first baseman at both the major and minor league levels.

Advertisement

First base is his best position, but he worked hard over the past two years to become a capable outfielder, and he has done more than that. He's an above-average left fielder who has continued to get better the more time he saw in the outfield.

We know how important defense is to Showalter, and the Orioles definitely need depth at the corner-outfield spots and first base, so if Navarro can show he can help the Orioles in the field, he could make the major league roster. The Orioles did their homework on Navarro before acquiring him from the Los Angeles Angels for cash.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Add in the fact that Navarro is a left-handed hitter on a mostly right-handed roster and it gives him a better chance. Navarro put up big numbers at the plate at the Triple-A level, hitting .316/.378/.449 in parts of five seasons at that level, but he's just a .246/.303/.324 hitter in limited major league time.

He could blossom with a new opportunity. In Anaheim, he was blocked at first base by Albert Pujols and C.J. Cron and the Angels have outfield depth.

I've also been told Navarro has one minor league option remaining, so he could be sent to Triple-A Norfolk out of spring training and come up if the Orioles have a need. Either way, I think we will see him with the big league club at some point.

Guest speaker Showalter

Advertisement

If it seems like Showalter has had a busy offseason on the public-speaking circuit, it's because he has. Showalter was the main guest at the Norfolk Sports Club Jamboree on Tuesday night in Norfolk, Va., where the Orioles' Triple-A club plays.

Showalter said the Orioles are always pondering trades to improve the team, but in most cases the club struggled to find a trade partner because teams wanted too much.

"We go, 'Yeah, that guy might be a good fit,'" Showalter told The Virginian-Pilot about his discussions with executive vice president Dan Duquette. "And then he tells you who it's for, and we both say no."

Even though the Orioles still haven't upgraded the starting rotation – a top offseason priority – Showalter said he thinks the team can get bounce-back seasons from Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez, and see Kevin Gausman take the next step in his development.

Asked about how the team hasn't improved the rotation this offseason, Showalter said, "Well, we did: Kevin Gausman. We went after Chris Tillman to revert back to the form he's shown, Miguel Gonzalez to revert back to form. Ubaldo [Jimenez] may have had as consistent a season as anybody we had last year. It's actually good. I bet Mike Wright and some other guys – Tyler Wilson – are real happy there might be a fifth spot open there."

Kim in California

South Korean outfielder Hyun-soo Kim has arrived in California and is now working out with Orioles vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson.

Anderson usually works out with West Coast-based players in the offseason. During his physical, Kim weighed in at significantly more than his reported 215-pound playing weight in the Korean Baseball Organization. So the Orioles are hoping he gets closer to that weight working with Anderson.

eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement