Signing McLouth is big deal for Orioles, despite small salary

December 05, 2012

The fact the Orioles reportedly have signed outfielder Nate McLouth to a one-year deal worth just $2 million plus incentives doesn’t mean that it’s not a very important move in the greater scheme of things.

McLouth was a very important part of the club’s late-season success and he will be back for a full season, most likely as the everyday left fielder. The Orioles are hoping that Nolan Reimold bounces back from neck surgery to finally establish himself as a solid run-producer, but – more often than not – Buck Showalter is going to be most comfortable with three Gold Glove winners arrayed across the outfield.

There was some doubt whether McLouth would come back, so give Dan Duquette and his minions credit for getting him to accept a one-year deal at a modest salary. McLouth obviously hopes to re-establish his credentials as a full-time player and re-enter the free agent market with more leverage later. If he continues to play the way he did down the stretch last season, he’ll be the bargain acquisition of the offseason.

His return also helps Duquette with the quest for another power bat, since he can focus on a first baseman/designated hitter rather than someone who must also be able to play regularly in the outfield.

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