When the Philadelphia Phillies elected to remove Domonic Brown from their 40-man roster, the 28-year-old outfielder elected free agency. Who could blame him? Being left off the 40-man at the age of 28 is a clear sign that the organization has given up on you and is ready to move on. The Phillies soured on Brown for plenty of reasons — low batting average, low on-base percentage, attitude concerns, perceived lack of effort, and injuries. Earlier this season, Brown and Phillies management butted heads after he made the assumption that he would return to the Major Leagues immediately following a rehab assignment. Instead, Brown played a total of 58 games in the minor leagues.
How did Brown get to this point after hitting .272 with 27 home runs in 2013, an All-Star season? Over his past 207 games, Brown has hit just 15 home runs and slugged just .349 while batting just .233. His OBP failed to crack .300 in 2014 and 2015, and he missed time with injuries in both seasons. Surprisingly, Brown is not a high strikeout player — only 317 in 493 total Major League games. He just hits a lot of lazy fly balls and weak choppers. Still, though, when Brown gets into a pitch, the result can be majestic.
The Baltimore Orioles have become the best team in the league at flipping reclamation projects into productive Major Leaguers. That reputation took a bit of a hit last year, as the Orioles could not get anything out of Travis Snider or Alejandro De Aza, and ended up releasing both. Brown is that type of project. Six-foot, five-inch left-handed hitting outfielders do not grow on trees, and Brown still has that 30-plus home run potential. His uppercut swing could play perfectly in Camden Yards. Perhaps what Brown really needs, after clashing with management in Philadelphia, is a change of scenery.
Plenty of teams are going to want to kick the tires on Brown, and the Orioles should be one of those teams. Manager Buck Showalter could be exactly what Brown needs. Showalter is stern and Old School, but fair, beloved by his clubhouse, and the type of manager who finds a way to get the most out of the talent assembled in the dugout. If anyone can help lead Brown to a breakthrough, it would be Showalter. The Orioles have yet to solve their corner outfield positions. Domonic Brown is an interesting name to keep an eye on as the offseason heats up.