The likes of Ryan Flaherty and Steve Clevenger have already been told that they’ve made the Opening Day roster for the Baltimore Orioles. So the roster spots themselves might well be few and far between in terms of getting one. I’ll be honest; I was stunned when the Birds made a flurry of moves within days of the team reporting to Spring Training. I’m not sure why I was so surprised, especially given that the likes of Jimenez, Cruz, and numerous others were still out on the market. It would stand to reason that once teams are actually starting to report, the price would come down, right?
Change often comes slowly, especially for me! However in the past we would rarely see player aquisitions as late as we saw the Orioles signing some of the aforementioned names. Heck, the team was STILL making trades as late as yesterday with Steve Lombardozzi! So when I say I was stunned that they made such big waves so late in the game, that’s probably the reason why.
So the question now becomes, do the Orioles have any other surprises in store before the season starts? Notice I said before the season starts. I suspect that once the first pitches fly and we get into the season next week, most of the hot stove talk will quiet down until June or July. (That’s generally the case, but of course in the past teams wouldn’t iron out deals a the beginning of spring training, either.) If there’s one area that might still be in question, I suppose one could submit the back end of the bullpen. Presumably, Tommy Hunter is going to be the closer come Monday (note the Jimmy Buffet reference). However could that change?
Top-to-bottom, the Orioles have one of the best lineups in baseball. But the relief pitching could at times be better. The O’s were 10-21 in one-run games last season, and for that trend to be reversed the back end of the ‘pen is going to have to step it up. However I presume that if that ends up being suspect, the O’s have the horses currently in the organization to do some sort of patch job in-season.
Generally what occurs is that teams get to the middle of June before they start evaluating if they might be able to swing a deal to add someone. So I suspect that the 2014 O’s will be no exception. Furthermore, I’m not sure that there’s anyone of consequence that they could add at this point. Having said that, all teams will be making their final cuts towards the end of this week and into the first part of the weekend. So for all we know there might be someone that ends up on the waiver wire who’s of interest to Dan Duquette. Again, I don’t think it would be anyone of consequence; probably just a player that could be stashed in Norfolk or Bowie in case he’s needed later (your classic “organizational depth” type of guy).