Jake Fox was brought in from the Oakland Athletics last June for the primary purpose of being a backup utility player for the Orioles. The O’s already have a starting catcher in Matt Wieters and starting first baseman in Derrek Lee, which are Fox’s primary positions, so his role in 2011 will be the same as it was last season. He will be an extra bench player that Buck Showalter will use when the situations calls for it. Fox hit .220 with five homers and 10 RBI for the O’s last season.

At one point in his career, Fox was a pretty highly touted catching prospect within the Chicago Cubs organization. But the Cubs felt that he wasn’t as committed to that position as they needed him to be so they moved him to the first base/corner outfield instead. And while he hit very well at the minor league level, his fielding wasn’t anything to write home about. He finally got a chance to play at the major league level when Cubs’ third baseman Aramis Ramirez became injured in 2009. Fox fared well at the plate, hitting .259/.311/.468 in 82 games. But when he was traded to the Athletics last season, he didn’t do as well as the A’s had hoped he would, only hitting for .214.

So, the O’s went ahead and traded for him last season mainly because they felt like Fox had the potential to give them a better option at first base than they had at the time. Obviously, that didn’t work out last season as the O’s signed Lee to be their primary first baseman this past off-season as opposed to giving Fox the full-time job. So this season Fox will come off the bench and fill in at either catcher or first baseman depending on what hole needs to be filled.

The biggest problem with Fox when it comes to his offense is his lack of discipline at the plate. He has the potential to hit for power and average, but can’t seem to be consistent enough to be an everyday starter. I don’t really see that changing at all this season considering he simply won’t have enough time to prove himself at the big league level unless either Wieters or Lee suffer a major injury that causes them to be out for an extended period of time.

Submitted by Steve Giles