Baltimore Orioles: Dan Duquette and roster games
Since the two have been “in tandem,” we’ve seen the magic of which Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette have been capable. This is not to say that they can’t make mistakes or haven’t, but look no further than the act of keeping Steve Pearce in the organization back in May. That aside, the Baltimore Orioles have an interesting advantage over just about every other team in the league this winter when it comes to their roster, and it comes from the most unlikely of sources.
The Orioles’ playoff run ended with one game remaining on the suspension of first baseman Chris Davis. That effectively means that Davis will have to sit out the next meaningful game that the Orioles will play, which will be April 6, 2015 at Tropicana Field against the Tampa Rays – Opening Day, 2015. (He was suspended for 25 games, and he’s served 24 games of that suspension – including post season games.) For the record, Davis will be able to go through the full spring training regiment with the team, including workouts, Grapefruit League games, etc. He just won’t be able to play in that first game of the season, but will be eligible to play starting on April 7th.
Courtesy of Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
This also means that the Orioles can effectively carry 41 players on the 40-man roster this off season. For a GM like Duquette who seems skilled at looph0les and nuances in the system, that could be a dangerous tool. The Orioles have of course been active in the Rule 5 draft the past few seasons, so having that extra slot could give them a spot to stash a potential Rule 5 player for awhile perhaps.
Keep in mind that it’s not really carrying 41 men on the roster; Davis technically isn’t on the roster, he’s suspended. But once Grapefruit League play begins in March, Davis will presumably be getting reps in games as the starting first baseman. So in theory that would open up a slot for someone else to be carried on the roster. As I said, that could be a Rule 5 player or perhaps someone else.
For those who will say that Davis shouldn’t be able to participate in Spring Training, that’s all part of MLB’s collective bargaining. Suspensions are for regular season and post season games – not exhibitions. Keep in mind also that Davis traveled with the Orioles throughout the playoffs this year, and was even able to take batting practice with the team.
The Orioles will have to play a man short on the roster for Opening Day, but after that Davis will join the party and they’ll move on. However it’s also very probable that a very lucky rookie or young player will get some additional reps with the big league club throughout the Grapefruit League season in March, which is never going to be a bad thing for the long term capabilities of the franchise.