With a handful of moves today the Orioles finalized their 25 man roster. Here is the rundown:
Of course, Reimold will be sharing time in left field with Felix Pie (with Pie getting the start Opening Day), but otherwise this is your starting lineup on most days. It's actually not too bad of a team. If Roberts stays healthy, Tejada doesn't totally fall apart offensively, and Atkins bounces back as the Orioles seem to think he will, it's a pretty good lineup. I wouldn't bet on Atkins, but those first two things could happen rather easily.
Pitchers and bench players below the jump.
The surprises on this list are, of course, Craig Tatum and Julio Lugo. Lugo just joined the club yesterday, replacing Robert Andino as the backup infielder. It's a downgrade on defense (although rumor has it the O's weren't impressed with Andino's D this spring) but an upgrade on offense. Lugo's bat is no great shakes, but does provide a pinch hitting option for Cesar Izturis late in the game. Wigginton and Pie are actually two very good players to have on the bench.
|The Good Guy
Poor Kevin Millwood. You know that his entire life people have been getting him combination birthday/Christmas presents, or wrapping his birthday presents in Christmas paper, or just forgetting his birthday altogether. Also, can we PLEASE get our future ace a less dorky picture? David Hernandez pitched his way into the rotation spot that we all assumed belonged to Chris Tillman. I was surprised and annoyed at first, but I've come to terms with it. Tillman is the more talented pitcher, no doubt. But he'll get his chance, and when he does he'll be able to replace any of the above pitchers (except, please God, don't let it be Brian Matusz). So if Hernandez is stinking it up, Tillman takes his spot. If Guthrie can't rebound and needs to be put in the bullpen, it's easier to replace him with a potential future TOR guy in Tillman than it would be with the less highly touted Hernandez. And I know (I know!) it's dangerous to look at spring training numbers, but Hernandez's high # of strikeouts (20 in 15 IP) is much more in line with what he put up in the minors. If he can pick that up in the majors this season he'll have a lot more success.
I really hope Albers is good this year. He did so well in 2008 before he was injured, but it was just painful to watch him last year. I would imagine he'll be on a pretty short leash this season. Berken pitched his butt off this spring and slid into Koji Uehara's spot when the delicate flower took his familiar spot on the DL. Hopefully Mark Hendrickson will pitch well and continue to be the player I'm most surprised that I don't hate.
So there they are. The first 25 who can call themselves Baltimore Orioles in 2010. I'm sure that some of these guys will take their place on my hate list eventually, but in these days just before the start of the season I always feel hopeful, and I have to say this team looks pretty good. Not contending good, I'm not delusional. But ask yourself this: Is there anyone on this team you feel the way you felt about Adam Eaton three days before Opening Day 2009? How about Alfredo Simon? Danys Baez?