Where are they now: Orioles hitters edition
The Baltimore Orioles have seen their fair share of players come and go in recent years. It is still hard to believe that the Orioles made the American League Wild Card just three short seasons ago and were one series win away from the World Series in 2014. Let’s take a look and see where some of our favorite former O’s hitters are now. And FYI, this article is going to be a little lengthy!
Although Christian Walker’s tenure in Baltimore was short-lived, the club saw massive potential in his abilities on the field. Walker only played 13 games with the Orioles between the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Between the two seasons, Walker had 31 plate appearances, which he batted just .148/.258/.296 with four hits and one home run.
The Orioles designated Walker for assignment in 2017 after they acquired Richard Bleier from the New York Yankees. He was then claimed off of waivers by the Atlanta Braves, who later designated him for assignment. The Cincinnati Reds would claim him, but his tenure there would also be short-lived after the Arizona Diamondbacks would claim him from Cincinnati.
Now 28-years-old, Walker is finally having the breakout season Orioles fans wished he had years ago. In 24 games so far this season, Walker is batting a tremendous .341/.398/.694 with the D-backs. He has tallied 29 hits, 7 home runs, and 15 RBIs in 93 plate appearances. It was only a matter of time when Walker would find his swing, and unfortunately, it did not happen with the Orioles.
When the Orioles acquired Steve Pearce twice in 2012, they never thought he would leave the impression he did on the club. Pearce played in 291 with the Orioles over five years. In that time, he batted .255/.337/.473 in 999 plate appearances.
Steve Pearce signed with the Toronto Blue Jays after his final stint in Baltimore. But in the 2018 season, Toronto traded Pearce to the Boston Red Sox. Little did they know he would help lead Boston to a World Championship while also winning World Series MVP. After his amazing postseason performance, Pearce re-signed with Boston this offseason. So far, Pearce is off to a slow start, batting just .125/.176/.156 in 35 plate appearances with Boston this season.
Pearce has officially played for every team in the American League East, and will always be remembered for his great versatility in his time with Baltimore.
The unexpected acquisition of the 2017 trade deadline, Tim Beckham, had his share of highs and lows with the Orioles in his two years with the club. The Orioles traded for Beckham to solidify the shortstop position after J.J. Hardy went down due to injury. Immediately, Beckham was named A.L. Player of the Week after his first few games in Baltimore.
After a great 2017 season, Beckham played his first full season with the Birds and unfortunately struggled, batting just .230/.287/.374 in his 402 plate appearances that season.
Beckham signed a 1-year deal with the Seattle Mariners after being non-tendered by the Orioles. Beckham is off to a great start for Seattle, slashing .304/.385/.576 in 104 plate appearances this season.
Matt Wieters was another fan-favorite during his eight years with the Orioles. During his time behind the plate in Baltimore, Wieters hit .256/.318/.421 in 882 games in an Orioles uniform. He was also a 4x All-Star and a 2x Gold Glove Award winner in his time with Baltimore.
The Orioles did not give Wieters a qualifying offer in the 2017 offseason, so that led the Washington Nationals to sign him to a 2-year deal. After having two disappointing seasons with Washington, Wieters found a job backing up Yadier Molina for the St. Louis Cardinals. Wieters has only played in seven games this season, but he has put up some good numbers. He has four hits with five RBIs in those seven games for the Cards.
Wieters will be remembered as one of the greatest Orioles catchers of all time, along with the likes of Rick Dempsey and Chris Hoiles.
The Orioles added a huge bat late in spring training in the 2014 season, adding Nelson Cruz to an already great lineup. Cruz made a huge impact on the team, playing 159 games while also leading the major leagues in home runs with 40. He batted .271/.333/.525 and collected 108 RBIs while helping lead the Orioles to their first division championship since the 1997 season. Cruz made the American League All-Star team and was seventh in A.L. MVP voting after his great season with the Orioles.
After just one season with Baltimore, Cruz signed a 4-year, $57 million deal with the Seattle Mariners. Cruz signed only a 1-year deal with Baltimore, and that certainly helped him get the money he deserved.
This offseason, Cruz found himself a free agent once more. Seattle had no plans to re-sign Cruz after re-shaping much of their team throughout the offseason. With that being said, Cruz did just like he did in 2014, signing a 1-year deal with the Minnesota Twins. So far this season, Cruz is batting .279/.405/.492 in 74 plate appearances with the Twins.
Cruz’s signing with Baltimore is one of the best acquisitions in Baltimore Orioles history. He gave the team a great showing and helped them reach the postseason once more. He will always be a part of that O’mazing year in our memories of that fantastic 2014 Orioles team.
Nick Markakis was a fan-favorite player in his time with the Orioles. Drafted seventh overall by the Orioles in 2003, Markakis cruised through the minor leagues and was called up to the big leagues in 2006 at just 22-years-old. In his nine-year career with Baltimore, Markakis batted .290/.358/.435 in an amazing 1,365 games with the club. He was a 2x Gold Glove recipient in his time with Baltimore and amazingly never had a batting average under .270 with the Orioles.
To many fans’ surprise, Markakis signed a 4-year, $44 million deal with the Atlanta Braves after the O’mazing 2014 Orioles season. Markakis made his first All-Star Game with Atlanta last season, as well as another Gold Glove Award and his first Silver Slugger Award. Markakis signed a 1-year contract extension with the Braves this offseason. So far this season, Markakis is off to a hot start, batting .321/.400/.464 in 100 plate appearances.
Nick will no doubt be an Orioles Hall of Famer in the future and will forever leave his mark as one of the greatest Orioles of all time.
Fans were certainly taken off guard when news broke that the Orioles traded Jonathan Schoop at last year’s trade deadline. Schoop also played his way through the Orioles farm system, making his much anticipated major league debut in 2013 at just 21 years of age. Schoop played six years with Baltimore, playing in 635 games with the club. In those six years, Schoop slashed .261/.296/.450 and was an All-Star during his breakout 2017 season.
Many fans believed that Schoop would become the man the team would build around if they committed to a rebuild. But to many fans’ surprise, Schoop was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers at the 2018 trade deadline. Schoop struggled in his short time with the Brew Crew, batting just .202/.246/.331 in 134 plate appearances.
This offseason, Schoop reunited with his former teammate, Nelson Cruz, after signing a 1-year deal with the Minnesota Twins. Schoop is showing signs of his old self in the early part of this season, hitting .282/.338/.549 in 77 plate appearances with the Twins.
Schoopy will always hold a place in the hearts of Orioles fans, with his big smile and great personality.
Known around Baltimore as Brooks Robinson 2.0, Manny Machado made his name known around major league baseball with the Orioles. Machado played 860 games over seven years with Baltimore. Machado was considered one of the best third basemen in baseball in his time with the Orioles, batting .283/.335/.487. Machado was a 4x All-Star, a 2x Gold Glove winner, and a Platinum Glove winner in his career with the Birds.
The Orioles traded Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the All-Star break last season, knowing they were not going to be able to sign him long-term. Machado helped lead the Dodgers to the World Series for the second time in a row, but decided to part ways during the offseason. Machado would later sign with a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres.
Manny had his ups and downs with the Orioles, but was always a highlight reel every time he took the field. Orioles fans loved the time Machado spent with the team, and will treasure all the great plays forever.
Out of all the players listed, this man was truly the heart and soul of the Baltimore Orioles. The leader, Adam Jones, came to Baltimore in what is considered one of the greatest trades the Orioles ever made with the Seattle Mariners. Jones played 11 seasons in Baltimore, in which he batted .279/.319/.459 in an amazing 1613 games for the Birds. Jones was a 5x All-Star, a 4x Gold Glove winner, and a Silver Slugger throughout his time in Baltimore. He is also known for his many charity events and community service around the Baltimore area.
Jones was not expected to re-sign with the Orioles after completing his 6-year contract extension he signed with the Birds before the 2012 season. Signing late in spring training, Jones found a new home with the Arizona Diamondbacks, signing a 1-year deal to go to the desert. Jones is doing what he does best- producing. In 107 plate appearances so far this season, Jones is batting an impressive .302/.368/.542.
Jones is considered a legend in and around Baltimore. He will no doubt be an Orioles Hall of Famer and I would not be surprised if his #10 is retired by the club in the future.