The last day of spring training is the day for teams to make the last decisions that will set up their rosters to begin the season. Although the Orioles don’t have to officially set their Opening Day roster in stone on Monday, they’ve done enough to give us a pretty good idea of who the Orioles are going to be who are on the team when the season begins on Thursday in New York.
The Orioles have 28 players still left on their camp roster. General manager Mike Elias told reporters on Monday that the Opening Day roster is “pretty much set”, with the three last cuts from 28 to 25 likely coming from players who will be placed on the injured list to begin the season. You used to know this as the disabled list.
The three injured Orioles are: Catcher Austin Wynns, who tweaked an oblique; designated hitter Mark Trumbo, whose recovery from September knee surgery is not complete; and starting pitcher Alex Cobb, who was tabbed as the Opening Day starter but then suffered “right groin soreness” while pitching just one inning in his final spring start on Saturday.
Trumbo has been placed on the 60-day injured list, indicating that his recovery from that surgery will require at least another two months. This removes Trumbo from the 40-man roster, opening up a spot for the one non-40-man player who has made the team: Catcher Jesus Sucre, whose contract the Orioles selected on Monday evening when they made their other roster moves.
The team still has hopes that Cobb’s stay on the injured list will be brief and that he could still be the starting pitcher on the Orioles home opener on April 4, one week after Opening Day in New York.
By process of elimination, we end up with a presumptive Opening Day roster that looks like this:
- Pedro Araujo
- Richard Bleier
- Dylan Bundy
- Andrew Cashner
- Miguel Castro
- Paul Fry
- Mychal Givens
- David Hess
- Nate Karns
- John Means
- Mike Wright
- Jimmy Yacabonis
According to manager Brandon Hyde, the starting rotation isn’t set beyond knowing that Cashner will make the Opening Day start in Cobb’s place. He had an intentionally short outing for his final spring start on Sunday to keep him in line for Opening Day.
Elias said that the Orioles may end up having to get “creative” over the first week with Cobb on the IL. That could end up meaning a bullpen game, or using an opener. How long and how much they have to get creative probably depends on how long Cobb is on the shelf.
- Hanser Alberto
- Chris Davis
- Drew Jackson
- Richie Martin
- Renato Núñez
- Rio Ruiz
- Jonathan Villar
I’m crying on the inside over the fact that Trey Mancini isn’t listed with the infielders. Alas, it seems that even with Trumbo headed for the injured list, Mancini isn’t getting freed from his outfield torment just yet. Núñez could be limited to designated hitter early on due to a sore biceps.
Alberto looks like he’ll squeeze in as a traditional utility infielder, while the “other” Rule 5 pick, Drew Jackson, could be something of a super-utility player with both infield and outfield flexibility. Davis, Villar, Martin, and Ruiz seem to be the starters here.
- Trey Mancini
- Cedric Mullins
- Joey Rickard
- Dwight Smith Jr.
Mancini in left, Mullins in center, Rickard in right, with Smith Jr. on the bench... at least until the prospects start arriving, hopefully by the time June rolls around. I’m still salty that Austin Hays got sent down to the minors, where he hurt his thumb sliding into a base in a minor league game and now could miss weeks, if not months.
- Pedro Severino
- Jesus Sucre
One reason why this is only the presumptive Opening Day roster is that there’s always the possibility of a last-minute waiver claim to shake up the mix. On Friday, it seemed like the O’s catchers were going to be Chance Sisco and Sucre, but then they pounced on Severino when he was dangling on the waiver wire. You’d probably given little to no thought to Severino’s existence as an MLB player three days ago. Now he’s an Oriole.
There could be other choices like this made between now and Thursday. Maybe they will find a better utility option than Alberto sitting on the waiver wire. Maybe they will find a better pitcher than Means.
Short of one of these kinds of surprises, these are going to be our guys for the start of the 2019 season. Most of the games with this Opening Day roster probably won’t be very fun to watch. At least this year, we can be prepared for that reality ahead of time, and hope that it might be more interesting in June and more interesting still in August as younger players arrive.
Article has been updated to reflect the Orioles making the official injured list moves for Cobb, Wynns, and Trumbo.