The famous Abbott and Costello skit “Who’s on First” declares a guy named “Who” is on first and a guy named “What” is on second. But for the 2013 Baltimore Orioles, it’s not a question of what being on second but who? Are you following along?… Good!
Let’s begin then.
Four years ago in 2009 the answer to the question “who plays second for the Orioles?” was an easy one, Brian Roberts. Between 2003 and 2009 Roberts’ name might as well have been printed on Oriole lineup cards leading off and playing second base. However since the end of the 2009 season, Roberts has been plagued by injuries (perhaps the most absurd being his self-inflicted concussion) and has played in just 115 games for the O’s.
Manager Buck Showalter will have a few options to fill the hole at second base. Roberts, now 35-years-old, is expected to be completely healthy for the start of spring training. However this past offseason the Orioles claimed Alexi Casilla off waivers from the Minnesota Twins and Ryan Flaherty, who started 20 games at second for the birds in 2012, is also on the roster.
Other unlikely candidates for the position include:
- Danny Valencia, acquired from the Boston Red Sox on Nov. 28, is a utility infielder capable of playing all over the diamond but has never played any position but third base at the major league level.
- Jonathan Schoop, who started 83 games at second for Double-A Bowie last year, was the 2011 Orioles minor league player of the year and was added to the team’s 40-man roster on Nov. 20. Schoop is not expected to start the season in Baltimore but is capable of making a statement in spring training.
- Yamaico Navarro, acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league pitcher Jhondaniel Medina, is another utility infielder. Navarro has primarily played shortstop and third over the course of his minor league career, with only three games at second base at the big league level.
The leading candidate for the role of second base is unclear. However, Flaherty started every playoff game for the O’s last season. Much of the decision will be based off the health and performance of Roberts and if Dan Duquette has any late offseason moves up his sleeve.
The full squad reporting date for the Orioles is Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14 (for all the guys out there), which is 14 days away.