Baltimore Orioles' Current Options for First Base

Drew Reynolds@dreynoldsawlContributor IIIJanuary 18, 2013

Baltimore Orioles' Current Options for First Base

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    After losing Mark Reynolds to the Cleveland Indians via free agency, the Baltimore Orioles have been scouring the market for a replacement at first base.

    First, it looked as if they were interested in free agent Adam LaRoche. However, he re-signed with the Washington Nationals.

    With LaRoche back on the team, the Nats were then open to trading away Michael Morse, and the Orioles seemed to be a viable trade partner. However, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners.

    As time is beginning to run out in the offseason, the O's may be stuck with what they currently have at first base, which is not necessarily a terrible thing.

    Here's a look at the current Orioles who will, or may at some point, play first base in 2013.

Chris Davis

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    As of right now, the Orioles starting first baseman is Chris Davis. Although the Orioles and many fans alike would probably rather see him as the everyday DH.

    The 26-year-old has shown tremendous power as a hitter, leading the O's in both RBI and homers in 2012. His bat will keep him in the lineup, day-in and day-out barring injury. His glove, however, leaves much to be desired.

    At 6'3", 232 lbs, Davis is a big target at first. He also has a solid .995 fielding percentage in 261 games at first throughout his career.

    That being said, he's not going to be making many run-saving plays. His size may provide a big target, but it also makes him less agile. Davis' range isn't spectacular, and he has struggled to pick out anything from the dirt when at first as an Oriole.

    There's little doubt that Davis will see some time at first this year. However, he will probably see just as much time, if not more, as a designated hitter.

Wilson Betemit

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    If Buck Showalter decides to use Chris Davis as the full-time DH, Wilson Betemit will probably see a good amount of time at first base.

    The 31-year-old veteran has primarily played at third base throughout his career, but after his 2012 performance, he will only be used at third in an emergency.

    But at first base, Betemit is less of a risk.

    As a hitter, Betemit is about as average as it gets. He's got average power, an average batter's eye, and a middle-of-the-road .268 career batting average.

    However, the fact that he is a switch-hitter may give him an advantage to steal some extra at-bats, whether it be at first or as the DH.

Nolan Reimold

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    It wasn't very hard to forget about Nolan Reimold in 2012. After starting out the season on fire, he didn't even play a game outside of April, as a herniated disk ended his season after 16 games.

    Those 16 games were impressive, however, as he hit 5 homers and posted a solid .313 average. Despite Nate McLouth assuming duties in left field, if Reimold can come back healthy and perform up to this level, Showalter will find a way to get his bat in the lineup.

    And one way the 28-year-old could be used in the lineup is by playing first base.

    Back in 2010, the Orioles tried to convert Reimold to first down in Triple-A. I can honestly say I have never seen Reimold play first, but if his statistics are any indication, he was not impressive. In 30 games in the minors at first, Reimold committed 7 errors and finished with a .974 fielding percentage.

    Hopefully, if Reimold does get to play first base at all next season, he's improved some since 2010.

Conor Jackson

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    A few years ago, if the Orioles signed Conor Jackson, it would have been somewhat noteworthy. But fast forward to December 2012, and his signing is merely just another minor-league footnote.

    From 2006-2008, Jackson was a solid first baseman for the Arizona Diamondbacks, as he hit around 15 homers and averaged nearly .300 each of those seasons.

    After the '08 season, everything went downhill for Jackson.

    Following an illness-plagued 2009 where he only played 30 games and hit .184, Jackson has struggled to break into a major league lineup. After spending an entire season in the minors in 2012, the 30-year-old will get a shot to make the Orioles as a non-roster invitee in 2013.

    Even if he doesn't make the team out of camp, it wouldn't be that surprising if Jackson plays for the Orioles at some point next season, as Orioles GM Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter seem to like veterans who have come upon hard times.

Travis Ishikawa

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    Another player who will look to earn a roster spot come spring training is 29-year-old Travis Ishikawa.

    In 375 major league games from 2006-2012 with the Giants and Brewers, Ishikawa posted a .264 average and has shown minimal power.

    Ishikawa is similar to Jackson in the aspect that he probably won't make the Orioles right out of spring training, but as the season advances, he'll likely have a call-up or two if he stays in the Orioles system.

Steve Pearce

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    Steve Pearce had an interesting 2012 season, as he started spring training in Minnesota, then went to the Yankees, then to the Orioles, then to the Astros and finally back to the Yankees. In that time span, he only accumulated 188 major league at-bats, hitting four homers and finishing with a .239 average.

    The 29-year-old has found his way back to the Orioles organization and wouldn't be a surprising mid-season call-up.

    Despite not playing one inning at first base for the O's last season, that is Pearce's natural position. So given the right circumstances, he could find himself playing in the infield.

    All in all, the Orioles do have a decent amount of depth at first base. Still, that depth isn't necessarily very talented. So it wouldn't be too surprising if the O's kept looking for a first base option with the time left in the offseason.