The mandatory report date for all non-World Baseball Classic players must report for training is February 20th. That means the Baltimore Orioles have just two weeks to adjust their roster, or let the games begin for what could be a very interesting Spring Training in Sarasota, Florida.
A quiet off season is nothing new for the fans in charm city. During a span of fourteen consecutive losing seasons, the Orioles made no big-name signings in well more than half of those years during that time. The lack of transactions may not necessarily be the issue this time, however. Baltimore has twelve potential starting pitchers heading into this year’s camp.
Here we go: Zach Britton, Jake Arrietta, Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel, Dylan Bundy, Steve Johnson, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Tsuyosji Wada, Kevin Gausman, and the recently signed Jair Jurrjens. Gausman and Bundy will most likely start the season in the minors, and Wada is returning from Tommy John surgery and is a big question mark but with potentially huge upside. Realistically, we are looking at nine legitimate starting pitchers with plenty of MLB experience.
On the offensive side of things, the Orioles are looking a little bit thinner. They lost slugger, Mark Reynolds in free agency to the Cleveland Indians and their biggest move to bolster their bats was resigning outfielder, Nate McLouth to a one-year deal. The O’s also added outfielder, Trayvon Robinson at the expense of infielder, Robert Andino via trade with the Seattle Mariners. After that, there really hasn’t been much worth taking note of.
One has to believe that one or two of these starting pitchers have some trade value that could bring a little more depth to the Orioles batting order. Only five of these hurlers are making the starting rotation. The rest are going to an already crowded bullpen, or optioned to the minors.
The next two weeks will have every fan in Baltimore checking to see what happens. History shows things will most likely remain the same. Hey, the team did just fine last year after a very quiet off season, and it’s never a crime to have a lot of depth when it comes to pitching. Maybe they’re already as balanced as they need to be.