Baltimore Orioles 2024 opening day roster projection 2.0

How does the brutal news of Kyle Bradish's UCL sprain affect the Orioles heading into Opening Day?

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Starting Pitchers: Corbin Burnes, Grayson Rodriguez, Dean Kremer, Tyler Wells, Cole Irvin (5)

Tyler Wells
Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles / Rob Carr/GettyImages

♪ Hello starting, my old friend. I've come to talk with you again.

After seemingly being relegated to the bullpen following the acquisition of Corbin Burnes, Tyler Wells and Cole Irvin are now the frontrunners to fill the final two spots in the Orioles' rotation. In Version 1.0, which included Kyle Bradish and John Means in the starting rotation, Wells and Irvin were in the bullpen, prepared to provide length when needed and, in Wells' case, possibly pitch in high-leverage situations. Of course, this opens up two new holes in the bullpen.

The Orioles could also look outside the organization, with Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, Michael Lorenzen, and Mike Clevinger still available as free agents. But with Mike Elias indicating that Means will be back sooner than later and that Bradish will return sometime this year, it is unlikely the Orioles dip into the free agent pool, especially for the two expensive options in Snell and Montgomery. Barring further injury or surprise in Spring Training, the Orioles fill the two spots vacated by Bradish and Means internally.

Relief Pitchers: Craig Kimbrel, Yennier Cano, Danny Coulombe, Cionel Perez, Dillon Tate, Jacob Webb, Mike Baumann, Keegin Akin (8)

Craig Kimbrel
Baltimore Orioles Photo Day / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

I highly considered new Oriole Matt Krook for one of the final two spots in the rotation. While Krook struggled in four appearances with the Yankees last season, he was dominant in AAA Scranton-Weils Barre, pitching to a 1.32 ERA and striking out 55 batters in 34 innings.

Ultimately, I think the Orioles add two relievers capable of pitching in bulk, with Mike Baumann and Keegan Akin taking the final two spots. Besides, Krook has options and is a similar late-inning reliever to stalwarts Perez and Coulombe. I do believe Krook, as well as recently acquired righty Kaleb Ort, see time with the Orioles at some point this summer.

The loss of Bradish undoubtedly hurts. However, Tyler Wells has pitched very well as a starter during the first half of 2022 and 2023, and maybe, just maybe, Bradish will be ready to return just as Wells begins running out of gas and can return to the bullpen. As for Irvin, he will likely return to the bullpen when John Means returns to the rotation.

There you have it, baseball fans, projection 2.0. Let's hope that this is our last spring projection facilitated by injury and that 3.0 can focus on a new acquisition or two, or better yet, highlight the Orioles who have starred in Grapefruit League play.

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