Good morning, Birdland!
Opening Day is sneaking up on us. We now have just over two weeks to go, and the roster is beginning to take shape. The latest casualty was southpaw Keegan Akin, who was thought to be in contention for a rotation spot. Instead, he will open the season with Triple-A Norfolk.
The Orioles still have about a million players in camp and several battles still need to be won. But the overall picture is a bit clearer than it was just a few days ago.
The pitching staff is going to John Means and Alex Cobb in front of what is likely to be a revolving door of guys that will be lucky to survive five innings each time they go to the mound. Mike Elias seems to prefer experience over potential, at least to begin the season.
Chris Davis is going to make the team. He is playing too well, and the O’s aren’t inclined to promote the young guns just yet. That, plus the uncertainty surrounding Trey Mancini’s health means that there is plenty of room on the roster for Davis.
And everything else is still a bit messy. But with just over two weeks until the regular season begins, we are likely to see the cuts coming thick and fast in the days ahead.
Links & Notes
Carroll trying to convince Orioles to keep him - School of Roch
I am in the camp that thinks the Orioles bullpen actually has a chance to be pretty good in 2020. Cody Carroll could be a vital part of that unit. He missed all of last season with a back injury, and hasn’t had much major league success to this point. But he is also 27 years old, and as long as he is healthy now there isn’t much more he can learn in the minors. Let’s see what he can do in the bigs.
Lefty Keegan Akin on his outing against Braves - Steve Melewski
It has not been a very good spring for Akin, which is why he was optioned to Triple-A after this game. Barring injury, he will be pitching for the Orioles at some point this season, but he isn’t exactly knocking down the door.
Orioles’ Chris Davis on coronavirus restrictions - Baltimore Baseball
The decision to close locker rooms to the press on account of the coronavirus is fine. People’s health and safety should be of the utmost importance. But it feels incongruous next to MLB’s hesitance to delay the regular season or play games in empty stadiums. It’s almost as if the owners care more about their revenue than people’s health.
Here’s the state of O’s starting rotation - Orioles.com
Folks, the Orioles starting rotation might end up like this: Means, Cobb, Asher Wojciechowski, Wade LeBlanc, Kohl Stewart. Look, I’m an Orioles fan. I’m used to bad pitching. But this group just might take the cake. I like Means. But if we are real for second, he’s no ace. He’s a back-end starter. This will not end well.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
Right-handed pitcher Frank Mata turns 36 today. He appeared in 15 games for the 2010 Orioles, his lone stint in the big leagues. Rich Hill, a 15-year MLB veteran, celebrates his 40th birthday. He appeared in 14 games for the 2009 O’s. Another hurler, Steve Reed, is 55. He came out of the bullpen in 30 games for the 2005 Birds. And finally, it is the 61st birthday of Phil Bradley, who spent half of the 1990 season patrolling the Orioles outfield.
1901 - The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Orioles have signed a Cherokee Native American named “Tokohama.” In reality, this player is an African-American named Charlie Grant. O’s manager John McGraw was hoping to pass Grant off as Native American in order to get around the game’s color barrier, but it doesn’t work. Grant is not allowed to play for the Orioles.
1991 - Jim Palmer, attempting to make a comeback with the Orioles, is struggling in spring training. He will retire, for the second time, tomorrow due to a hamstring injury.