With the start of Spring Training just weeks away, anticipation is building for the 2016 season. MLB.com is going around the horn to break down each area of the Orioles, continuing with the outfield.
BALTIMORE -- In 2015, the Orioles employed a platoon in both left and right field, constantly shuffling the players around All-Star center fielder Adam Jones, hoping someone would emerge in an everyday role. That never happened, and corner outfield production was a sore spot for manager Buck Showalter all season, forcing Baltimore to carry several outfielders on the roster at any given time and to designate -- and lose -- multiple players during the season.
The O's are hoping to avoid that scenario this season, though the roster again figures to have a fairly open competition for left and right field. Unless executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette adds an outfielder, such as Austin Jackson, the Orioles will go into camp hoping to have at least one corner spot solidified by the same player.
Who that will be is anyone's guess. Baltimore has eight players on its 40-man roster listed as outfielders, though Jimmy Paredes (listed under designated hitter) played the outfield in the Dominican Winter League, and first baseman Chris Davis has shown he's capable of holding down right field. Should L.J. Hoes, who was designated for assignment, clear waivers and remain in the organization, he would give the O's another outfield option.
The Orioles traded for Mark Trumbo and signed Korean outfielder Hyun Soo Kim this offseason, two guys who will be watched closely in Spring Training. Little is known about Kim and how his stats will translate over to MLB, and Trumbo is considered more of an offensive guy. But if he hits in camp, it could give Trumbo -- who could also DH -- an edge over the rest of the outfield group, perhaps convincing Showalter to make a calculated risk to put forth the most offensive-minded lineup possible.
Dariel Alvarez and Henry Urrutia both came up last year and had their moments, though the consensus was each needed a little more seasoning and had yet to adjust to the pace of the big leagues. Nolan Reimold is a wild card, and a big camp could go a long way for the 32-year-old known for a solid on-base percentage and excellent speed. Reimold has been hit hard by injuries, but there's been nothing to suggest he won't be fully healthy -- and someone to watch -- down in Sarasota, Fla.
The Orioles also have Rule 5 Draft pick Joey Rickard, selected from the Tampa Bay Rays organization, and he has to make the Opening Day roster (if healthy) or be offered back. Rickard, 24, started the 2015 season in Class-A Advanced and moved up to Triple-A, finishing his year with a solid run in the Dominican Republic, where he hit hit .272/.354/.503 with nine homers and 37 RBIs in 45 games.
"We took a look at some of the outfielders that we thought could help our team," Duquette said at the Rule 5 Draft. "We recognized Joey Rickard's improvement. You look at how he's trending, he's trending up. Very rarely do you see a player get moved up as quickly as he's moved up this year, and you can see his skills at every level every step of the way."
Duquette also recently traded for Efren Navarro, a first baseman/outfielder acquired for cash considerations from the Angels. Navarro, whose arrival caused Hoes to be designated, is a left-handed bat who has fantastic Minor League numbers that have yet to translate to the big leagues. The 29-year-old does have an option remaining, giving the O's some always-coveted roster flexibility, and he is coming off a 2015 season in which he batted .329/.380/.442 with 24 doubles, a triple, two homers and 29 RBIs in 72 games for Triple-A Salt Lake City. Navarro batted .253/.295/.301 with five RBIs in 54 games for the Angels.