Nate McLouth, outfielder

Can we expect him to perform in 2013 the way he did for the Orioles in 2012?

Obviously, we’ll have to wait and see. Normally, I would assume that a good one-half season was the fluke compared to 2 1/2 bad seasons, but there are some mitigating factors. McLouth had been injured off-and-on over 2010 and 2011. In 2012, he signed with the Pirates but didn’t really get a chance to play before getting released. The Orioles signed him and sent him to Norfolk, where he did get a chance to play regularly and shed the rust. He gradually got more effective and was recalled to Baltimore, where he played quite well over the last two months. It’s possible that he’s recovered fully and will continue to be effective. I think it’s more likely that 2012 was a “last hurrah”, and will regress to his 2010-2011 form.

The Orioles signed him to a 1-year, $2 million contract. Was that a good move

Sure. The contract is cheap and carries no long-term liabilities. McLouth played very well in the playoffs. His contract is a reward for good service — which can’t help but be a positive to the other Orioles — and if McLouth really doesn’t play wel, there’s no reason not to cut him loose and move on. If the Orioles had a left-field prospect ready to go, then signing McLouth would run the risk of derailing him; but L.J. Hoes could use some more AAA time.

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