They won’t be cutting down the nets but Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter are head-first into March roster madness. So many bats and arms in Sarasota and only 25 roster spots in Baltimore. Hey it’s a nice problem to have, it wasn’t that long ago the Orioles were about 7 short on the big league roster now they might have 30-32 legit candidates for the 25-man Opening day roster.
Times have changed; only one American League team has won more games than the Orioles over the past three years (Oakland). The Orioles have a good shot to record their fourth straight winning season something they haven’t done since 1985. Buck’s Birds are the defending AL East champs and look like a strong contender to repeat. Here are some of the guys trying to work their way to Camden Yards.
Jimmy Paredes — He’s pretty much been a .400 hitter this spring and is second on the team in RBI’s. The switch hitter is average with the glove and a .242 career hitter, not sure if he can beat out Ryan Flaherty who has a better glove and more versatility.
David Lough — Tough spring, a couple of minor injuries and batting average below .200. On the plus side he hit .350 after the All-Star break last year and his outfield play is top-notch.
Dariel Alvarez — The Cuban outfielder with the rocket arm won’t start the year in Baltimore but don’t be surprised to see him later this summer. A couple of home runs and batting average over .320 will get you noticed.
Everth Cabrera — A National League all-star who stole over 80 bases combined in two seasons. Not sure where he fits in and doubt if he’ll jump in front of Jonathan Schoop at second base but think he’ll get a look.
Nolan Reimold — I know what you’re thinking , but he’s been healthy and has had a productive spring (hitting .313). Don’t see him making the 25 but could have a role in Baltimore or another MLB club at some point in 2015.
Kevin Gausman – I know fans will be upset if he starts the year in the pen or heaven forbid Norfolk. Know this; Kevin Gausman will get plenty of starts with the Orioles this season. If they monitor his innings early he won’t be limited in September and October.
Ubaldo Jimenez – A tall box of chocolates, who knows if he can be a factor. It’s encouraging that he’s only walked one batter in his last 13 innings and went 5 scoreless in his last start. He’ll get a chance to earn his money (3/$39M) but he’s on the clock, if he can’t find home plate he can’t pitch every fifth day.
Brian Matusz – Could be traded by the time you read this. With all the scouts looking Matusz is having a great spring (11.3 inn, 12K, 1 run).
Jason Garcia/Logan Verrett – Pitchers joined at the Rule 5 hip, both have been impressive this Spring, seems unlikely that both could be carried on the big league roster all season.
It’s a tough time for decision makers and an anxious time for players, spring has sprung and it’s nearly time for The Boys of Summer to head north.