Are the Orioles Interested in a Reunion With Nate McLouth?

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Nate McLouth may be on the move. The Nationals could have found a trade partner in the Baltimore Orioles. After a failed run at Padres outfielder Seth Smith, the Orioles are still on the lookout for an upgrade over David Lough, and the former Oriole McLouth could be just the guy for them.

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McLouth’s Nationals career hasn’t gotten off to the greatest start. In 79 games he hit just .173/.280/.237 with an OPS+ of 45. His disappointing season was ultimately ended by shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.

So why would any team want an under performing outfielder on the wrong side of 30 whose owed $5,000,000 next season? The Orioles are in dire need of outfield help after the departure of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis. The current outfielders on their roster are Alejandro De Aza, Alex Hassan, Adam Jones, David Lough and Steve Pearce. Adam Jones is the only true certainty. Pearce did have a break out year in 2014, but he may be better served playing first base. Hassan has 3 games of major league experience and has been DFA’d multiple times this offseason. The two lefties, Lough and De Aza, are both career .268 hitters with little power. In short, they don’t have many reliable options.

The reason McLouth might be a top option for Baltimore is his previous history there. In 2012 after being cut by the Pirates, he latched on with the Orioles where he hit .268/.342/.435 and was a huge part of their late season playoff run. It was his play at Camden Yards in particular that made him so valuable. He hit .314/.395/.505 with four home runs in 29 games. In a full season, he wasn’t quite as successful, but he was at least a solid contributor.

While this deal sounds plausible in theory, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun threw a wet blanket on it. Encina says that the team believes in Lough’s upside more than they believe in McLouth.

So it sounds like McLouth won’t be moving any time soon, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While he struggled in 2014, his shoulder was a season long issue. With a fully healthy 2015, he could be an impact bat off the bench. If they Nationals are really determined to move him, they’ll probably have to eat some money, and at that point it’s probably not worth making the deal.

Next: Is It Time For The Nationals To Trade Doug Fister?

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