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O's name Felix Pie as starting left fielder

Mar 30, 2010, 10:28 PM EDT

Felix Pie.jpgIt’s been a tough day at the office for Orioles manager Dave Trembley. He already made one tough decision, picking David Hernandez over Chris Tillman for the final spot in his rotation, but he made another notable one later in the afternoon, naming Felix Pie as his Opening Day left fielder over Nolan Reimold.

Reimold is batting just .231 (9-for-39) with one home run and three RBI this spring while Pie is batting .393 (11-for-28) with two home runs, three RBI and two stolen bases. Trembley insists that the decision wasn’t about production, but only to protect Reimold, who is slowly working his way back from surgery on his left Achilles’ tendon.

“This is not a slight on (Nolan) Reimold, but this is the right thing
for Reimold. He’s not 100 percent. You think I’m going to go ask him to
bust his butt on turf?” Trembley said.

The Orioles are set to open their season against the Rays in Tropicana Field, so it appears he is taking the prudent approach.

For those worried about Reimold losing the grip on the job that was seemingly his, remember that Pie’s struggles in the first half last season are what brought Reimold to the majors in the first place. It’s possible that Pie could blossom into the star he was long ago hyped to be — and his second half last season at least hinted at that possibility — but I’m expecting the two outfielders to split playing time until Reimold is at full strength.
 

  1. Grant - Mar 30, 2010 at 10:56 PM

    This is a team that already had plenty of corner/DH guys and yet signed both Atkins and Tejada.

    What would have been wrong with Atkins/Tejada at third, Scott and Reimold splitting time at DH/1B and occasional LF, Pie starting in left, and Lou Montanez as a fourth outfielder?

    Really I’m mostly pissed about the Atkins signing. That’s what this is all about.

  2. Charles Gates - Mar 31, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    Last year Atkins was -0.3 WAR (fangraphs data) and CHONE projects him at +0.5 WAR this year. The O’s didn’t necessarily overpay for Atkins @ $4.5MM/1 year, and he does present some upside based on what he’s done in the past. If your argument is that the Atkins signing is blocking the development of younger players in a year when they’re not going to compete anyway, then perhaps I could get on board with that. But purely from a contract perspective, veteran leadership at a fair price is a good thing for a young team.

  3. Jeff V. - Mar 31, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    Misleading headline, this has more to do with Nolan’s achillies and astoturf then anything else.
    The line “Pie’s struggles in the first half last season are what brought Reimold to the majors in the first place” is incorrect. Pie’s struggles are what got Montanez promoted to the majors, injuries to Montanez and Luke Scott are what promted Reimold’s elevation, well that and his sick, sick numbers at Norfolk last season. Pie had already lost the left field job by the time Reimold was promoted.

  4. D.J. Short - Mar 31, 2010 at 10:37 AM

    Jeff,
    You’re right in that it wasn’t a cause-effect situation (Scott and Montanez certainly factored in), however if Pie was productive, Reimold would not have gotten the call in May. It wouldn’t have been a consideration. So yes, Pie’s struggles are a significant factor why Reimold was promoted. That was my point, although I could have been more clear about that.
    How would you like the position to shake out?

  5. Jeff V. - Mar 31, 2010 at 10:56 AM

    I would *like* it if Pie could put up an 800 OPS in left field, move Reimold to DH most days and trade Scott for something usefull. They could rotate days off for Jones and Markakis and sit Pie against some lefties to keep Reimold in the outfield for 50 games or so. This would also allow the O’s to DH Wieters on his days off from catching.
    Despite Pie’s one torrid month last year I question if his bat will play in left. Given a choice between Pie’s glove and Reimold’s bat in left, I would take Reimold’s bat. I would keep Pie as a fourth outfielder until he became expensive. With Jones’ health record being spotty I certainly feel that the O’s need someone capable of playing a good centerfield on the bench.

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