Spring training is officially over. Following the final spring game, manager Buck Showalter signaled a lot about the composition of the Opening Day roster for the team, answering questions that had been lingering for several days. A late surprise is still possible, but otherwise, things seem to be settled.
First and foremost, the Orioles will end up starting the season with just three starting pitchers. That’s because Wade Miley is ticketed for the disabled list when the season begins. This is less of a big deal than it sounds. The new 10-day DL means that Miley can start the season on the DL and be activated in time for the first game where the fourth starter is needed on April 9.
We already knew that the Orioles would have a space opened up by not needing the fifth starting pitcher until April 15. All of the fifth starter candidates can be optioned to the minors, so that person, whoever it is, seems to be ticketed for the minors for the first week and a half of the season.
As it stands now, the candidates remaining for that fifth starter spot seem to be Jayson Aquino, Mike Wright, and Gabriel Ynoa. I was most intrigued by Ynoa during spring training. I’m not very likely to be consulted when the Orioles make the decision. They may even have already made it and just aren’t telling anyone on the outside.
One person who’s not seeming to be in the fifth starter competition any more is Tyler Wilson, but that’s only because Wilson is pegged for a long-man role. The O’s will also have a left-handed long man with Vidal Nuno in the bullpen. This is still subject to change if the Orioles find some kind of Oriole-esque player to claim on waivers as other teams are trimming the fat from their rosters.
There will be eight relievers when the season opens. One of them will not be Oliver Drake, who was reported earlier on Thursday to have passed through waivers. The Orioles can then outright him to Norfolk.
Both Joey Rickard and Trey Mancini have made the team, according to Showalter. It seems like Craig Gentry is a lock as well, though the Orioles have to wait until Rule 5 outfielder Aneury Tavarez’s waiver situation is resolved before the 40-man roster spot for Gentry opens up. Drake being outrighted would also create a 40-man spot for Gentry.
Surprising no one except for those national baseball writers who aren’t familiar with the Orioles, Pedro Alvarez is headed for Norfolk. His outfield experiment will continue there.
WIth this juggling of the starting pitchers, the Orioles have found a way to, at least for five days, have their cake and eat it too. They will have both an eight man bullpen and a five man bench. And if you don’t think this is going to be the beginning of a season full of continuous roster moves, you haven’t paid attention to how Dan Duquette rolls.