Baltimore Orioles: Roster moves getting complicated
Apr 6, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop Ryan Flaherty (3), third baseman Manny Machado (13), first baseman Steve Pearce (28) and second baseman Jonathan Schoop (6) talk duding a pitching change against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Baltimore Orioles defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
After stringing together six wins in a row, the Orioles are finally resembling the team most fans were waiting to see this season. Unfortunately for the Orioles, the rest of the division has turned around their slow start in the past weeks as well. Now the Orioles are above .500 for first time in a long time, but still hovering around fourth place despite being only two games behind the division-leading Yankees.
Lately the Orioles’ lineup is beginning to find solid ground. Underperforming members of the roster like Alejandro De Aza and Everth Cabrera have been replaced with more consistently productive players, and the starting rotation and bullpen have settled into the consistency expected from the beginning of the season.
The return of J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty, Matt Wieters and Nolan Reimold have brought a stability to several key positions that have been struggling for consistency for most of the season, but their return has clogged up and already crowded roster.
The concern going forward has to be the inflexibility of the roster, and how it could force the Orioles to cut ties with more valuable players going forward. Right now the Orioles have very few players with options, and with several players returning from injury, the logjam may prove to be a difficult puzzle yet again.
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Jonathan Schoop, Wesley Wright and Rule-5 draftee Jason Garcia will all be returning from the DL in the not too distant future. The Orioles may be forced to consider dealing Travis Snider or Steve Pearce once Schoop returns, since the addition of Nolan Reimold seems to have made them somewhat expendable. The Orioles could also consider dealing David Lough, but he brings tools with his speed and defense that Snider and Pearce do not.
Neither Wesley Wright nor Jason Garcia have been particularly impressive this season, but the Orioles will do everything they can to keep them on the roster, or at least not lose them for nothing.
Obviously as a Rule-5 player, Garcia will be more difficult to keep on the roster. He’s just not ready to pitch at this level, but the Orioles want him for next season. That wouldn’t be quite as difficult if their roster wasn’t so inflexible already.
With the lefties in the bullpen and in AAA, the Orioles probably just don’t need Wesley Wright, but coming off a long stint on the DL he probably has little to no trade value. The Orioles don’t want to give them up for nothing, even if they don’t need him.
The Orioles could look at moving Tommy Hunter, if a team would be willing to shell out a decent return. Hunter is obviously still a valuable member of the bullpen, but he is a free agent after the season, and at this point the Orioles have to find flexibility somehow.
You hear often that these problems tend to take care of themselves, but that probably won’t be the case this time. Dan Duquette always finds clever ways to negotiate situations like this, but it’ll be interesting to see exactly what the roster looks like a few weeks from now.
Next: Baltimore Orioles: Matt Wieters Return