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Orioles sign enigmatic speedster Joey Gathright

Mar 30, 2010, 5:01 PM EDT

Released by the Blue Jays over the weekend, Joey Gathright quickly found another gig by signing a minor-league contract with the Orioles.
Gathright is a fascinating to me because he’s without question one of the fastest and most athletic players in all of baseball, yet for all his blazing speed and car-jumping ability he can’t hit and isn’t even a great base-stealer.
He’s batted .263 with a mediocre .327 on-base percentage and punchless .303 slugging percentage in 1,328 plate appearances as a major leaguer, and has also averaged just 36 steals per 600 trips to the plate while being gunned down on 27 percent of his attempts.
Ultimate Zone Rating pegs him as 8.5 runs above average defensively per 150 games in center field and he rates even better as a left fielder, but for whatever reason Gathright can’t seem to find a long-term home as a fourth or fifth outfielder. He’s not even 30 years old yet, but has already played for the Rays, Royals, Red Sox, Cubs, Blue Jays, and Orioles.
This is actually Gathright’s second stint with the Orioles, as he played 80 games for their Triple-A affiliate last season before being traded to the Red Sox for a player to be named later or cash. Gathright hit .329 with 24 steals in those 80 games at Norfolk, which is where he’ll likely begin this season.

  1. Jon - Mar 30, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    Worth noting: Should Gathright ever sign with the Yankees, he’d be the first player ever to be a part of all five AL East teams.
    The other competitor in that battle: Eric Hinske (Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays).

  2. Jeff V. - Mar 30, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    There are worse ways to spend a summer then playing AAA baseball in VA Beach.
    Considering the health histories of Jones, Reimold and Pie I imagine this is for depth in case of injuries.

  3. Grant - Mar 30, 2010 at 7:08 PM

    The scary thing is, if Andy ever promotes him (due to injuries or whatever) I can totally see Dave Trembley sticking him in CF every damn day. Because Trembley is a bad manager.

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