Former Orioles outfielder Nate McLouth signed with the Washington Nationals yesterday for $10.75 million over 2 years. McLouth had a career resurgence in Baltimore over the last two years, working his way up from the minors after some dreadful years in the National League to a memorable role on the 2012 Buckle Up Birds. He was the Orioles lead off hitter in 2013, a spot he occupied with varying success; McLouth stole a career-high 30 bases last year, but most came in the first half of the season. He was respectable at the plate, but struggled mightily against left handed pitching.
Last year the Orioles had McLouth under contract for $2 million. He will likely be a platoon or reserve player for the Nationals, which is why the deal he just signed with them seems a bit excessive. And if the Orioles are indeed in a bit of a budget crunch, it’s a good thing they didn’t spend $5 million a year for a platoon player. But it is hard to swallow that such a fan favorite will head down I-95 to our crosstown rivals, especially since the Nats are getting a smaller piece of the same television revenue pie that is apparently not big enough for the Orioles to expand payroll.
And a fan favorite Nate McLouth was! In less than two full seasons, Nate endeared himself to O’s fans with his hustle, gritty play, greasy hair, and his penchant for getting timely hits, earning the him the nickname “McClutch.” In fact, he almost had the biggest hit in recent Orioles history when his long fly ball against CC Sabathia in Game 5 of the 2012 Division Series missed the foul pole by a hair (though you’ll never convince me that it didn’t nick it).
The Spastics decided to come out of hiatus to put together a short video in honor of one of our favorite Orioles. Our Twitter followers will notice that we had no choice but to include his beloved dog briefly, because that dog was probably the best part of the 2013 Orioles season. Thanks for the memories, Nate, and good luck in DC!