The Orioles announced a series of roster moves Monday afternoon: Opening Day center fielder Cedric Mullins has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, while infielder Stevie Wilkerson has had his contract selected from Norfolk to take Mullins’ place. In order to clear a spot on the 40-roster for Wilkerson, Baltimore has designated right-hander Josh Lucas for assignment.
Mullins, 24, stumbled to a slow start to open the year but excited Orioles fans with a two-triple game against the visiting A’s back on April 8. The organization hoped that day might’ve served as a turning point for the talented young center fielder, but he’s instead collected just two hits (both singles) in 44 plate appearances since that time. Mullins hasn’t been striking out at a lofty rate, with just nine punchouts in that time, but he’s already popped up to the infield on five occasions this year.
A 13th-round pick back in 2015, Mullins moved fairly quickly through the Orioles’ farm system; he only logged 125 games in Double-A and another 60 in the Majors before making his big league debut last year. It’s certainly feasible that he needs a bit more development time in Triple-A, where he held his own last year but didn’t exactly excel (.269/.333/.438 in 269 PAs). The Orioles likely still view Mullins as a potential long-term piece in the outfield, but he’ll be asked to earn his way back to the big leagues for the time being. In his place, it seems likely that Joey Rickard will step up and assume more playing time in center field.
The 27-year-old Wilkerson was outrighted off the 40-man roster earlier this year but will return for a second stint on the Orioles’ 40-man roster. He made his MLB debut with the club last year but didn’t fare well in a minuscule sample of 49 plate appearances (.174/.224/.239). Wilkerson, however, is a .290/.338/.481 hitter through 35 games at the Triple-A level and a career .268/.342/.371 hitter in parts of six minor league seasons. He’s played second base, third base, shortstop and corner outfield in the minors and should give manager Brandon Hyde some versatility off the bench.
As for Lucas, the 28-year-old made a trio of appearances for the O’s after being selected to the big leagues earlier this month. In 4 1/3 innings, he yielded a pair of earned runs on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Lucas has spent a bit of time in the Majors in each of the past three seasons now, and in 108 2/3 career innings of Triple-A ball, he has a 3.32 ERA with just under a strikeout per inning and 2.6 BB/9 while working primarily as a reliever.
About time, needs much more at-bats at AAA. It is incredible that he was a worse hitter than Chris Davis this year. Can you imagine if the Orioles replaced those two hitters with league average bats?
Then we would be like 11-11
Even if we had league average bats our pitching would have to prevent the runs from scoring which I don’t find very likely.
MT in Baltimore
Cedric does need more time in Norfolk. Let’s see if Stevie can play at the Major League level. He has the ability.
Cedric what a first name!
Off to a poor start. I like his approach though, and it’s good to have quick, athletic guys. Some seasoning in Norfolk can’t hurt though.
This means that for the foreseeable future, Joey Rickard is the everyday CF. I guess it’s time to find out about him as well. I have often wondered what happened to the speedy OBP machine that the O’s took in the Rule 5 draft, because the one that showed up in Baltimore never showed much plate discipline or base stealing ability. Maybe at some point Mason Williams gets the call. Can any Reds fans tell me why he was let go? Was it just the horrible spring training or was there something else to it?
Reading draft reports on William’s indicates he is simply an AAAA player at best. Bat has a strong likelihood to never catch up with the glove, which is not saying a whole lot.
They also added Puig, Dietrich, and Kemp to a fairly deep outfield group. And also shifted nick senzel to CF. I think he was a redundant non prospect so they let him walk.
There are a ton of AAAA players in the Majors.
Yep. To many teams. MLB needs to get rid of a couple.
Mason Williams isn’t an answer for any ML team. Our CF depth is embarrassingly shallow. I think it will be Hays who you eventually see take this slot over this year. Once he is healthy and if he is hitting. I’m surprised Elias hasn’t done more to bolster our depth at that slot because it’s an embarrassment. Rickard’s defense will at least be an upgrade to noodle arm Mullins. I’m hoping Hays is the answer sooner rather than later
Rickard has a total noodle arm too is the thing. And we’ve seen all we can see from him, I honestly don’t know why he’s still around, there’s gotta be some draft bust waiver claim we can roll the dice on.
Rickard’s arm is better than Mullins. Rickard still has options. I’m not surprised he’s around. He’s a fine backup outfielder on a losing team.
Did Josh Lucas play the Pirates when he was with the Manatees (State College of Florida) during Spring Training back in 2010?
Wing Dings Say Wha?
Don’t let this distract you from the the fact that in 1966, Al Bundy scored four touchdowns in a single game while playing for the Polk High School Panthers in the 1966 city championship game versus Andrew Johnson High School, including the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds against his old nemesis, Bubba “Spare Tire” Dixon.
??? what is this comment