Orioles Notes: Sánchez, Jones, Zimmermann, Valdez (www.mlbtraderumors.com)

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The Orioles will have a pair of fresh faces up the middle this season with free agent additions Freddy Galvis and Yolmer Sánchez. Sánchez is a Gold Glove winner at second, but he’ll be pushed for playing time by the newly-acquired Jahmai Jones. Jones will work out in the outfield as well, but the Orioles view him as a second baseman, per Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com. It was a bit surprising to see the Orioles net the former second round pick in exchange for Alex Cobb, as the former Angels farmhand was the top prospect in LA’s system as recently as 2017, per Baseball America. He was the 89th ranked prospect in all of baseball before the 2018 season.

On the pitching side, Baltimore made positive strides in 2020, finishing in the upper half of the league by fWAR and around the middle of the pack by measure of ERA (16th) and xFIP (18th). The struggle to allot rotation minutes remains a focal point, however. Bruce Zimmermann, for instance, hopes to make the rotation after seven debut innings in 2020. If Zimmerman doesn’t make the rotation, he could wind up in the pen as a bulk innings relievers, tweets Kubatko.

The same goes for César Valdez, notes Kukatko. Manager Brandon Hyde suggested that Valdez would be used in a number of different roles, but they will work to stretch him out in the spring in preparation for multi-inning stints and potentially turns in the rotation. The 35-year-old Valdez made nine appearances for the O’s in 2020 with a 1.26 ERA/2.14 FIP across 14 1/3 innings. It was Valdez’s first appearance in the bigs since 2017 and only his third stint since initially debuting with the Diamondbacks in 2010.

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