Baltimore Orioles: Questionable roster decisions


Photo: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
After weeks of speculation, manager Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles released their ALDS 25-man roster this morning, which was immediately followed by a wave of questioning and second-guessing.

The biggest head-scratcher by far has to go to Ubaldo Jimenez. After a less than impressive start to the season that saw him with an ERA of 4.52 in the first week in July, Jimenez then spent a month on the disabled list. His return to the rotation didn’t yield much better results as he had an ERA of almost eight in August, and quickly fell out of favor with management.

He had made some minor mechanical adjustments which had resulted in a 3.27 ERA in September. However, he did that in only 11 innings, and was absolutely a non-factor in the Orioles’ stretch run. The real question is what his role could be in the playoffs, and is that worth excluding a more reliable pitcher.

There is no way Jimenez could come into any important situation given his inability to throw strikes consistently, and with Kevin Gausman on the roster he shouldn’t be needed in any long relief role. The decision to include Jimenez is even more puzzling given the fact that it excluded lefty Brian Matusz. The southpaw started out the season a bit slow, but has given up only three earned runs since June.

Another questionable spot went to Brad Brach. The veteran has done a decent job as one of the few multi-inning options out of the bullpen, which probably played a factor in his selection. However, as of late Brach has struggled. Brach had an ERA of 0.71 in August, but an ERA of almost 6 in September.

Again, the decision to include Brach on the playoff roster is compounded by who it left out, in this case T.J. McFarland. Brach and McFarland split time as team’s long-relief options for much of the season, and both did an admirable job. However, as of late there is no comparison. While Brauch struggled with inconsistency for the last month, McFarland didn’t allow a run in seven appearances in September.

A lot of people will point to the fact that Detroit doesn’t have many left-handed bench options and for the season hit better against lefties. That is true. However, it’s hard to imagine having faith in either Brach or Jimenez to come into any crucial spots. Whereas at least Matusz has at least shown he can he can be a reliable option in the past. It’s hard to argue with someone who seems as prepared as Buck, but it also difficult not to question these decisions on paper.