A day ahead of the deadline, the Orioles have their 28-man Opening Day roster figured out. With the planned Wednesday afternoon spring finale canceled, the team used Wednesday morning to make their last round of cuts and settle on 14 position players and 14 pitchers who will be the first batch of Orioles this year. As ever, the roster will be subject to change due to injuries, performance, need for a fresh arm, or other whims. It may be that not all of these 28 players will even make it to the home opener on April 11.
These four pitchers have been named as the starters for the first four games of the season:
- John Means
- Jordan Lyles
- Tyler Wells
- Bruce Zimmermann
Zimmermann, the Baltimore native, will be used as the starter for the first home game of the year. That’s a cool honor for him. Hopefully it goes well.
Three more pitchers will either be used as a fifth starter or as a planned bulk reliever:
- Keegan Akin
- Mike Baumann
- Dean Kremer
The game 5 starter is still TBD as of today. Presumably it will be one of these guys, with the other two being available to follow Wells on Sunday and Zimmermann on Monday.
There are seven other relievers on the 28-man roster:
- Bryan Baker
- Félix Bautista
- Paul Fry
- Joey Krehbiel
- Jorge López
- Cionel Pérez
- Dillon Tate
The trade of Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser on Sunday night really shook up the expected bullpen picture. One result of that is that this bullpen has three guys who have never thrown a pitch for the Orioles before - Baker, Bautista, and Pérez - with Krehbiel having pitched all of five games here last year.
These pitchers were all on the 40-man roster already. The team did not need to make a move to add any of these players. Bautista was added prior to November’s Rule 5 draft deadline, while Baker and Pérez were offseason waiver claims.
Position players include these two catchers:
- Anthony Bemboom
- Robinson Chirinos
Bemboom has beaten out the competition for the “backup catcher until Adley Rutschman joins the Orioles” spot on the roster. The 32-year-old is headed into his fourth MLB season, having totaled 54 games across his previous three campaigns. Bemboom, in camp as a non-roster invite, had to be added to the 40-man roster. There were two open spots after the trade of Scott and Sulser.
The infield mix has seven players:
- Kelvin Gutiérrez
- Trey Mancini
- Jorge Mateo
- Ryan Mountcastle
- Rougned Odor
- Chris Owings
- Ramón Urías
Owings also needed to be added to one of the open 40-man roster spots. Since only two non-roster players made the team and there were two spots, the O’s did not need to make any 40-man cuts to assemble their Opening Day roster.
And then there are five rostered outfielders:
- Austin Hays
- Ryan McKenna
- Cedric Mullins
- Anthony Santander
- DJ Stewart
Pretty much every predicted roster over the last week or so assumed that there was little chance of both McKenna and Stewart making the team, yet here they both are. It will be interesting to see how long this continues and how the playing time is divided up among players who seem to be more primarily backups rather than every day starting players.
The final cuts who did not make this roster: Chris Ellis, Travis Lakins Sr., Richie Martin, Tyler Nevin, Jacob Nottingham, Beau Taylor, Spenser Watkins. Of this group, only Nevin is currently on the 40-man roster. We could see any of them as the season goes along depending on how they perform at Triple-A and what kind of need arrives at the MLB level.
The roster will have to return to the normal 26 on May 1.