Just about a year ago, Brian Roberts dove head first into first base, and got a concussion. It has been a long year since then, and Roberts is now ready to start making rehab starts in Bowie in the near future. Roberts is expected to be back with the Orioles in 3-4 weeks. Usually you would think that Roberts would come back and start at second base like he did before. But, it isn’t so easy now that Robert Andino is playing well. Give Andino credit, he got an oppurtunity to be an everyday player, and he really made the most of it. Now the big question is, what do the Orioles do with Roberts? They certainly have a lot of options. Here is a list of a few of them
1. Put Roberts at DH, keep Andino at second
2. Put Andino at DH, Put Roberts at second
3. Put Roberts at second base, move Andino to third base
4. Put Roberts at second, make Andino a super-utility guy
5. Have Andino and Roberts split playing time at second
It is good when you can have all of these options, but there is one that I like more than any other of them, and that is the third one. Put Roberts at second base, move Andino to third base. This is a good option for a lot reasons. One reason is that we make way too many errors at third base , and Andino played there some last year and played pretty well. Even Buck Showalter said that he was surprised to see how well he fielded it at third base. Also, Andino said that he likes third base because he just has to react and not think. He was quoted saying “I don’t like to think, I like just reacting.” The Orioles starting third basemen Mark Reynolds, who is hurt now but will be back when Roberts’ is, has been terrible. He was brought into hit home runs ( he only has 2) and get RBI’s. The Orioles didn’t mind him last year when he struck out a lot but also hit a lot of home runs but now he just strikes out and makes errors. It is quite obvious that we need a position upgrade at third base. I think that Andino has a good enough arm to make the transition.
One of the other big questions for the Orioles with Brian Roberts coming back, is will he be able to be himself after not playing for a year, and getting up their in age at 35 years. I certainly do not think he will be the player that he used to be, but this is because he was so good before he got hurt. He was a great leadoff hitter and a base-stealer for the Orioles for so many years. But since he got the concussion in the first place running the bases and sliding, I think that he will be too tentative on the bases. Another reason I think his production will be down is that it will be hard to get hits after sitting out for so long. The hardest thing to do in life is to hit a 95 mph fastball, and sitting out a year does not help Roberts’ cause. There is no way that someone can sit out a year then just return to their old form at the plate. The one thing that I think will stay consistent for Roberts’ is his glove, I think he will be able to field as well as he did before his injury.
One thing that is certain that Roberts’ will bring to this young ball club is leadership. It is important for him to get back because this team is so young and playing so well, he will be able to give them some good advice. Roberts’ will be a good veteran on this team that will hopefully be able to lead this team off the field as well as on the field.