Could Albert Suarez really lose Orioles rotation spot after John Means' return?

Albert Suarez has been such a great story, but another Orioles roster crunch is coming and he is at the center of it.
Minnesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles
Minnesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The Baltimore Orioles are among the league's best teams because they are incredibly good at spotting talent that they can develop into big league players, not because they know how to spend $250 million a year. Obviously the draft is where they have found the most success (gestures wildly at most of their lineup), but they also did a tremendous job in identifying Albert Suarez as a guy they could use in 2024.

Usually, a 34-year-old signee who hadn't won a game since 2016 wouldn't have amounted to much. However, Baltimore saw something in Suarez, who became the talk of spring training. While they didn't carry him on their Opening Day roster, he had impressed the team enough in camp that the Orioles called upon Suarez when Tyler Wells got hurt.

While Suarez has rewarded the Orioles for their faith in him with a pair of strong starts, there is still a realistic chance that he could lose his spot in the rotation soon when John Means is activated from the injured list as soon as this weekend and the Orioles' other starters get healthy.

Orioles News: Can Suarez and Means coexist in the same Baltimore rotation?

Given that Suarez has yet to give up an earned run in two starts in the majors, he warrants at least some consideration to stick around in the Orioles' rotation. It certainly would be a bad look if Suarez filled in so well only to lose his spot. However, tough choices do have to be made at some point, and starting opportunities are going to be limited very soon.

Assuming Means is activated and starts on Sunday, as many are speculating, the Orioles can get away with shifting Cole Irvin and/or Dean Kremer to a different role in the short-term. Obviously, Corbin Burnes and Grayson Rodriguez are not going anywhere, and Suarez has at least earned the right to stick as starter over those additional two guys.

Where things get difficult is when Kyle Bradish comes back, as he is also rehabbing in the minors and should be back soon, barring any setbacks. That could create a forced choice between keeping Saurez or Irvin, who is out of minor league options, although there may be another solution.

The Orioles have these guys coming back from injury, and the ideal scenario for them and the O's would be to to utilize a six-man rotation, even if intermittently, to give each starter extra rest and not tempt the injury gods too much. In that world, the Orioles could keep Suarez and bring back the gang from the IL, potentially creating a bunch of starting pitching depth for down the stretch.

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