After a rather ugly 14-6 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday afternoon, the Baltimore Orioles made some roster cuts as there are nine days until opening day as of the date this article gets released. Five players were either optioned or assigned to minor league camp, trimming the big league spring training roster to 46 players, 12 of which are non roster invites.
Perhaps the most surprising name in the list of cuts is lefty relief pitcher Nick Vespi. With the Orioles potentially looking at a thinned out bullpen as Dillon Tate is confirmed to start the season on the IL, I figured Vespi would at least stay in big league camp longer. Alas, he was optioned to Triple A and will thus begin the season in Norfolk, barring further injuries.
Fellow southpaw Bruce Zimmermann was also optioned down to Norfolk afte beginning 2022 in the starting rotation. But with the Orioles getting closer to the playoffs, a 5.99 ERA and 6.06 FIP isn't going to make a big league roster. Five runs in 12 innings this spring didn't help his cause either.
One of the three non roster invites to get sent to minor league camp was Lewin Díaz, who was in the mix for the Orioles backup first base job this spring. He has recently been dealing with shoulder soreness after a hot start to the spring, and was seemingly behind both Ryan O'Hearn and Franchy Cordero in the battle.
Non roster lefty reliever Darwinzon Hernandez, recently back from representing Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, was also assigned to the minors. He was one of the NRI's in competition for a bullpen spot, but allowing four runs in 1 1/3 innings doesn't make you a favorable choice. He needs to get his command straightened out to have any chance at sticking in the majors.
The final cut of this batch was catcher Mark Koloszvary, also in camp as an NRI. This is by no means surprising, as offseason acquisition James McCann is going to be the backup behind Adley Rutschman. He'll start the season in Norfolk and will likely be the first guy up in the event of an injury behind the plate, although a 40 man roster move would be necessary.
With 12 NRI's still in camp and opening day getting ever closer, more cuts will be made in the coming days as the spring training roster competitions start to reach their end. Rest easy, baseball is on the way.