Picking The Orioles' 40-Man Roster Won't Be Easy
By Jim Henneman
Before the Orioles start sizing up their arbitration cases, they will have to clarify how many are on deck -- a determination that won't be made until the 40-man roster is set next month. And it may take until then to sort through the maze of names.
Currently, the Orioles have 47 players on that roster, and if you're wondering how that is possible and how it will be resolved, you came to the right place. The Orioles now have seven players on the 60-day disabled list, the occupants of which do not count against the control list. And, as you may further recall, the club shuffled players in and out so rapidly that anybody suspected of a hangnail was immediately disposed to the 60-day DL, where second baseman Brian Roberts began and ended the season.
Now the time is rapidly approaching to pay the piper for all those extra bodies the Orioles kept around all summer, because they will have to make room on the 40-man for some of those on the 60-day DL. Roberts, Nolan Reimold and pitchers Tsuyoshi Wada (the Japanese left-hander who didn't make it through spring training), Stu Pomeranz and Oliver Drake fall into that category. First baseman Nick Johnson and pitcher Randy Wolf will become early casualties.
In addition, there are at least a half-dozen players, some of them potential arbitration cases, who will be removed from the 40-man roster in order to make room for four-year players from the minor leagues who need to be protected or exposed to the Rule 5 Draft. Infielder Jonathan Schoop, destined to be Manny Machado's double-play partner in a few years, is chief among the newcomers.
Leading candidates to be dropped in order to make room are: Jim Thome, Bill Hall, Lew Ford, Endy Chavez, Steve Tolleson, Omar Quintanilla, Steve Pearce and Taylor Teagarden. Plus, Baltimore will probably have to make a decision on left-handed reliever Zach Phillips, while late-season acquisitions Joe Saunders and Nate McLouth are expected to file for free agency, barring the Orioles make a preemptive move.
So there are a lot of decisions to be made before taking on arbitration cases, the most challenging of which figure to be relievers Jim Johnson and Darren O'Day, who are both coming off career years.
I came across a couple of references that indicated Stephen Strasburg's exclusion from the postseason had no bearing on the Nationals' early exit. Say what?
I have no problem with the Nationals limiting Strasburg's innings, only with how they did it. Unfortunately, it sure looked like an economics thing, which considering the original $10 million plus investment, is understandable. By starting every fifth day, Strasburg was an automatic gate attraction, something that couldn't happen if he worked in gradually out of the bullpen.
The question that remains is this: Now that he has logged 160 big-league innings, is 190 the cutoff next year? That wouldn't be enough to get him to the postseason either.
By the way, see above for the reason why it would be foolish for the Orioles even to consider 2011 first-round draft pick Dylan Bundy for their rotation next year. Let him get his 150-160 innings in the minor leagues, which would put him in position to be a factor in 2014.
Couldn't let this pass completely unrecognized: Did anybody else notice Yankee Stadium fell short of capacity during the postseason games against the Orioles? Word was there were 7,000 seats available for Games 4 and 5 before a big e-mail push cut the number in half.
Meanwhile, the Orioles still get hammered for not selling out 1969 World Series Games 1 and 2 -- after the Mets returned 2,000 tickets for games already announced as sellouts. Oh, well.
I see where Jason Giambi will retire as a player if he gets the job as manager of the Colorado Rockies. I'm guessing that getting his .225 average, 37.2 on-base percentage and 30.3 slugging percentage, along with one home run and eight RBIs, off the roster might be at the top of the list for offering him the job.
Also, wondering whether ex-Oriole Rich Dauer, the Rockies' third base coach, is in the mix for that position.
Interesting note on the Tampa Bay Rays' pitching staff (and there's never a shortage of interesting notes in that department): Among the resident starters, David Price is the only one who wasn't drafted out of high school and brought through the system with his innings bottle- fed on an annual basis. James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore and Alex Cobb all got their baptism under fire in the minor leagues. I would call it the old-fashioned way, but it would date me too much (OK, OK stop it).
Marco Scutaro: National League Championship Series MVP. It seems like only yesterday that he was Jeremy Guthrie's teammate in Colorado.
Aubrey Huff is going for his second World Series ring in three years. Who'd a thunk it?
Prediction: If the Giants are going to win the Series, they will have to do it in five games -- the ones Tigers ace Justin Verlander doesn't pitch. (There's a hint for all out there who subscribe to the undeniable power of the reverse-lock theory.)
Jim Henneman can be reached at JimH@pressboxonline.com.
Posted Oct. 24, 2012