The move means that any of the other teams in MLB could choose to put in a claim on the lefty-batting Tavarez. If any team claims Tavarez, he would be subject to the same Rule 5 roster rules that the Orioles would have been. Passing through waivers would mean that he would return to the control of the Red Sox, from whom the Orioles selected Tavarez.
This is how the Orioles lost Logan Verrett (temporarily) back in 2015. Verrett was claimed on waivers by the Rangers towards the end of spring training as the O’s chose to keep the other Rule 5 pick, Jason Garcia, instead. So it is this season as well with the O’s seeming to be holding on to the other outfielder, Anthony Santander, who is likely ticketed for the disabled list to start the season.
Tavarez being placed on waivers is a bit of a surprising development if only because it seemed like the roster spot created by not needing to call up the fifth starter until April 15 meant that Tavarez would be able to squeeze out at least a week of big league action with the club.
If anyone had suffered an injury in that time, they at least would have had Tavarez around. The ceiling of a soon-to-be 25-year-old who spent the previous season at Double-A is not likely to be very high. A similar lesson played out with last year’s Rule 5 pick, Joey Rickard.
Tavarez, like Rickard, had a nice enough spring, batting .292/.382/.396 while appearing in 29 games. He stole eight bases and was only caught once. The Orioles got a long look at him and in the end they haven’t decided to keep him.
It was always going to be a bit of an uphill battle to find a roster spot for Tavarez, given that he is a lefty, like regulars Hyun Soo Kim and Seth Smith, and not able to serve as a backup in center field. Still, it seemed like he had at least a window of opportunity and now we know that window is closed. Where Tavarez heads next remains to be seen.
When the Orioles haven’t kept their Rule 5 picks, they’ve ended up getting them back eventually. They did so with Michael Almanzar, who they also selected from the Red Sox, in 2014 and Verrett in 2015. These guys haven’t made a great impact with the club, but the obsession with them continues apace.
Although you never totally know with the Orioles, I think this opens the door for Trey Mancini to be on the Opening Day roster. How long he’ll stick around is another story.