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2017 Orioles Roster Review, Part One: The Replaceable Position Players

October 9, 2017
This is the first installment of a five-part review of the Orioles' roster. We'll examine each of the 50 players who performed for the team in 2017. In our first part, we'll look at the position players who are likely to be replaced, some who could be replaced and some who already have.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy: The Orioles aren't going to pick up Hardy's $14 million option for 2018. Hardy, who missed time with a broken right wrist, didn't come close to accruing the 600 plate appearances needed for the contract to vest.
Playing in 73 games, his fewest since 2006, the 35-year-old batted .217.
While Hardy was on the disabled list, the Orioles found his replacement in Tim Beckham, who had a terrific start. Beckham injured his hamstring during the season's final week, and Hardy got some extra playing time.
Hardy will look to play elsewhere, but he can no longer play every day, and he's never played another position besides shortstop.
Outfielder Seth Smith: Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette shrewdly acquired the steady, quiet outfielder from the Seattle Mariners for right-handed starter Yovani Gallardo in January.
The 35-year-old Smith's .340 OBP led all regulars on the club, but he was miscast as a leadoff hitter. His 32 RBIs were the fewest he's produced in any full major league season.
The Orioles are hoping prospect Austin Hays can replace Smith in right field.
Outfielder Joey Rickard: In his second season, Rickard was a useful defensive replacement, but he failed to grow as a hitter. In the minor leagues, the 26-year-old drew plenty of walks and had a reputation as a solid on-base player.
But this year, Rickard walked just nine times and struck out 63 times in 277 plate appearances.
Rickard could stick as a fifth outfielder, but with Rule 5 pick Anthony Santander likely to start 2018 on the major league roster, he could find himself beginning next season in Triple-A Norfolk.
Outfielder Craig Gentry: Manager Buck Showalter is a big fan of the reserve outfielder, whose defense and speed are his main draws.
Gentry suffered a broken right middle finger Sept. 1 and was restricted to a few pinch-running assignments during the season's final weeks.
He could be back, perhaps on a minor league contract.
Infielder Ryan Flaherty: Flaherty completed his sixth and by far his most unfulfilling season as an Orioles utility player. The 31-year-old, who missed three months with a shoulder injury, batted just 38 times this season and will seek a job with a team in which he could play more often.
Infielder Ruben Tejada: Tejada filled in while Hardy and Flaherty were on the disabled list, but he was outrighted to Norfolk when Flaherty returned. He wasn't added to the team's roster when it expanded in September.
Designated Hitter Pedro Alvarez: Alvarez didn't re-sign with the Orioles until March, and spent all season at Norfolk until he was finally added to the roster Sept. 1.
He tried his hand at the outfield, but that experiment was abandoned.
If the Orioles trade Mark Trumbo, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the 30-year-old re-signed later in the offseason.

Showalter is a fan of Alvarez's power and likes his work ethic.
Outfielder Hyun Soo Kim: After a solid 2016, Kim had a rough 2017 before he was sent off to the Philadelphia Phillies in the Jeremy Hellickson trade.
Kim never developed as a hitter, and his outfield play left much to be desired.
Infielder Paul Janish: Janish retired in August after Rice University offered him an assistant coach's job. The heady infielder played 14 games in each of the past three seasons when Hardy was injured.
Catcher Francisco Pena: Pena was 5-for-10 in limited action when Welington Castillo was on the disabled list. After promising his mother he'd hit a home run, he hit two home runs in a game the night before Mother's Day.
The Orioles are flush with catching, and while Pena does a decent job, there doesn't appear to be room for him.
Second baseman Johnny Giavotella: The Orioles tried Giavotella, who hit .306 at Norfolk, at second base while moving Jonathan Schoop to shortstop in July. He went 1-for-10.
Giavotella suffered a hip injury with Norfolk and isn't likely to return to the organization.
First baseman David Washington: A minor league slugger who was clearly overmatched in six major league at-bats, Washington has no future with the Orioles.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox