Travis Snider was cast in difficult role: The Orioles finally designated outfielder Travis Snider for assignment Friday after making him a centerpiece of their offseason attempt to upgrade the club's on-base potential and replace popular veteran Nick Markakis. The move was not a surprise, since there was speculation a week ago that he would be clearing some room on the roster soon.
Snider got every opportunity to establish himself as a productive everyday player and had reasonable batting and on-base numbers during the first half, but he didn't deliver enough run production for a corner outfielder in the American League. He was never going to hit a bunch of home runs, but the Orioles certainly felt he would manage more than 20 RBIs in 69 games.
Dan Duquette obviously thought so and took some heat for failing to bring in a more proven player after Markakis and Nelson Cruz took a hike. He likes cheap reclamation projects and has caught some lightning in the past. Just not this time.
Second notice: Sign O'Day: I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but the offseason will be here sooner than you think and it's going to be a complicated one. That's why the Orioles need to do what they can right now to steer one of their potential free agents back to Baltimore before it's too late.
Duquette doesn't like to negotiate with pending free agents during the season and that's just the kind of self-imposed arbitrary rule that is going to guarantee that reliever Darren O'Day pitches for the Washington Nationals next year.
Multi-year extensions for relief pitchers are admittedly risky, but O'Day has proved that he dominates the eighth inning as much with his brain as his arm. He's worth that risk, especially for a team that will have enough to rebuild without ripping up the bullpen.
Handcuffed by Rule 5? The Orioles love the Rule 5 draft. They picked up Ryan Flaherty and T.J. McFarland in it and they are trying to hold on to pitching prospect Jason Garcia, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list Thursday. They want to keep him badly enough that they sent out very promising pitcher Mychal Givens, presumably to buy some time until major league rosters expand on Sept. 1.
Talk about a gamble. Givens has pitched well since he was brought up to fill the roster spot vacated by Bud Norris. The decision to protect Garcia at Givens' expense makes sense from the standpoint that Garcia might be lost on waivers and Givens remains available in the minor leagues. But it's becoming increasingly likely that the playoff hunt in the American League will be decided by a slim margin.