Despite posting career-highs in hits (79), runs (39), doubles (15), triples (5) and RBI (31) in 2010, Felix Pie will not be an everyday starter in the outfield in 2011. Of course, this is a direct result of the O’s signing veteran Vladimir Guerrero in the off-season, which pushes Luke Scott from DH into left field. Pie will now be coming off the bench as a fourth outfielder, which isn’t such a bad thing for the O’s considering he played well last season when he started his fair share of games.

However, Pie will have to get used to being in a reserve role once again like he was two years ago. He made it known that he wasn’t overly happy with coming off the bench because he knows he can be an everyday starter in this league, and he may be right. Pie hit .274 in 288 at-bats in 2010 and utilized his speed to track down fly balls in the field and make some great catches. The one knock on Pie, however, was his base running skills. He didn’t seem to have that killer instinct on the base paths and it hurt the O’s on a few separate occasions last season. Like I said, he has great speed, but he just needs to learn how to use it to his advantage when he gets on base.

Pie was named the Chicago Cubs’ top prospect by Baseball America in both 2006 and ’07, but was given up on by the franchise when they signed Kosuke Fukudome in 2008. Fukudome became the Cubs’ everyday starting right-fielder so the Cubs decided to trade Pie to the O’s for LHP Garrett Olson and minor league RHP Henry Williamson. At the time, the deal was great for Pie because there was an opportunity for him to start in the outfield with Nick Markakis and Adam Jones, two of the best young outfielders in the game.

Now, Pie must again wait for his chance to start, which could cause some problems considering how he reacted to coming off the bench in the past. If Pie doesn’t embrace his role as a bench player, he could be used for trade bait. I don’t think the O’s want to do that because Pie adds depth to an O’s squad that could surprise some people this season. But we’ll just have to wait and see how the situation plays out to see if Pie will be here for the long haul.

Submitted by Steve Giles