Who will be the September additions to the Orioles' roster? - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Who will be the September additions to the Orioles’ roster?

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—On Saturday, major league rosters can expand from 25 players to 40, and the Orioles will add to their roster then—or shortly thereafter.

Norfolk’s regular season ends on Labor Day, but there’s a possibility they’ll qualify for the International League postseason as a wild card. If they do, the Orioles might be be reluctant to raid their roster.

Bowie’s season also ends Monday, and they won’t be going to the Eastern League playoffs.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at possible additions to the Orioles’ roster for September.

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Pitchers

Cody Carroll-He was sent down to Norfolk after Monday’s game, and isn’t eligible to return until Sept. 7. Carroll, who was acquired from the Yankees in the Zach Britton trade, was 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in nine games with the Orioles.

“Just to get him back with some positive things going on,” manager Buck Showalter said. “When he was giving up some stolen bases, he all of a sudden went a lot quicker to the plate up here because guys run better … I’m impressed. He’ll he back. Each time those guys come back, they should do better, and they usually do. He’s got the stuff to pitch up here.”

Luis Gonzalez-The left-hander has intrigued Showalter for a few years. Gonzalez pitched well in the Arizona Fall League in 2017, but wasn’t placed on the 40-man roster.

Gonzalez has combined for a 2.51 ERA in 29 games for Bowie and Norfolk.

Branden Kline-It’s been a long, hard road to the major leagues for Kline, a product of Frederick, Md., and the University of Maryland. Kline was a second-round pick of the Orioles in 2012, but his road to the Orioles has been derailed by elbow injuries.

Kline pitched eight games for Frederick in 2015, and then didn’t pitch in 2016 or 2017. This year has combined for a 1.55 ERA in 42 games for the Keys and Baysox.

The right-hander has already thrown 63 2/3 innings and may not be available for many more in September if he’s added to the roster.

John Means-He probably has less of a shot than some of the others, but if the Orioles want to see another left-handed starter, perhaps they’ll look at him.

Means, an 11th round pick, has slowly made his way through the organization and is 6-4 with a 3.42 ERA in 19 games for Norfolk.

Luis Ortiz-He was acquired from Milwaukee in the trade for second baseman Jonathan Schoop. Listed at 6 feet 3, 230 pounds, Ortiz was Texas’ first-round pick in 2014 and is 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA in five starts with Norfolk

The Orioles may want to look at Ortiz, who must be added to the 40-man roster this offseason, as a possible starter for 2019.

Less Likely

Keegan Akin-The organization’s leading winner has had an excellent season at Bowie, but the feeling is that Akin shouldn’t be rushed.

Donnie Hart-The left-hander had eight stints with the Orioles in 2018, but had a 5.79 ERA, and there may not be a ninth one in September.

Evan Phillips-Acquired along with Ortiz, Phillips had a 21.00 ERA in four games with the Orioles. Showalter seems confident he’ll improve in his next shot, but that may not come until next spring.

Jimmy Yacabonis-In his first season as a starter, he has an 8.38 ERA in six games with the Orioles and a 3.93 ERA in 20 starts for the Tides. Showalter indicated after his start on Saturday that Yacabonis may be reaching his innings’ limit for the season.

Catchers

Chance Sisco-The Orioles need a third catcher in September, and he’s the only one on the 40-man roster now that Andrew Susac has been jettisoned.

Sisco was a disappointment with the Orioles when he hit .195 in 58 games and struggled defensively, too.

At Norfolk, Sisco has thrown out just five of 35 runners attempting to steal (14 percent), but his bat has perked up somewhat.

Less Likely

Martin Cervenka-Named the Eastern League Player of the Month for July, the 26-year-old native of the Czech Republic is a dark horse candidate for the 40-man roster.

Catchers are hard to find, and after a nice season offensively and defensively for Bowie, Cervenka could be lost in the Rule 5 draft if he’s not protected.

Infielders

Breyvic Valera-The Orioles need an extra infielder, and Valera, who was picked up from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the trade for Manny Machado, is the only healthy utility man on the 40-man roster.

Valera, who appeared in one game for the Orioles earlier this month, can play second, short and the outfield but isn’t much of an offensive threat even though he is a switch-hitter

Less Likely

Ryan Mountcastle-He’s had another good season offensively at Bowie, but he’s not ready to play third base in the major leagues. Could another position change be in his future?

Garabez Rosa-He’s a sentimental choice because he’s been a loyal organizational soldier. Finally invited to spring training, Rosa has hit decently in his first season in Triple-A at 28 but doesn’t walk often nor play a position well.

Steve Wilkerson-He would have been a slam dunk, but Wilkerson, who missed extended time because of an oblique injury, hurt his hamstring shortly after being optioned to Norfolk.

Wilkerson can play the infield and is working in the outfielder and behind the plate. The switch-hitter is a good bet to make the Orioles next season. If his hamstring heals quickly, he could join the team later in September.

Outfielders

Austin Hays-He missed significant time this season because of an ankle injury, and he’s finally started to hit at Bowie. The Orioles are planning to send him to the Arizona Fall League and since he needs at-bats, why not bring him back to the big club?

Hays struggled last September, hitting .217 in 20 games, but he’s learned a lot during his difficult 2018 season.

Joey Rickard-He’s played 255 games with the Orioles over the past three seasons. He can play each of the three outfield positions and brings speed.

Less Likely

Anthony Santander-Just off the disabled list after a staph infection in his knee, the Orioles may want another look at their Rule 5 pick from December 2017, but he’s hardly dominated in Bowie or Norfolk.

DJ Stewart-The Orioles have been waiting for their No. 1 pick in 2015 to blossom, but after a hamstring injury in June, Stewart has been disappointing, hitting just .233.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Orial

    August 29, 2018 at 8:19 am

    Cervanka intrigues me but Sisco appears to be their man. I can see Rickard,Hays,Camera and a handful of pitchers. A shame about Santander–talk about spinning one’s wheels. The real fun begins in 2020-2021.

    • Orial

      August 29, 2018 at 10:13 am

      Sorry that should be Valera. Gotta watch that damn auto-correct.

      • Rich Dubroff

        August 29, 2018 at 2:21 pm

        Cervenka has yet to play in Triple-A and they have a lot invested in Sisco.

  2. boss61

    August 29, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Great piece Rich. I like Cervenka, and I’d bring him up ahead of Sisco.

    Still stranger than strange about Susac, speaking of catchers. He wrote a chapter in the MLBPA handbook: how to burn a bridge with your team.

    • bigdaddydk

      August 29, 2018 at 8:59 am

      No kidding about Susac. Did he and Colby Rasmus hang out a lot while they were in the organization or something?

      • Devereauxisunderit

        August 29, 2018 at 9:45 am

        What’d I miss about Susac?

        • Rich Dubroff

          August 29, 2018 at 2:23 pm

          Susac is on the restricted list, Devereaux.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 29, 2018 at 2:22 pm

      They have a lot invested in Sisco, Boss. I appreciate your comments, as always.

  3. chico salmon

    August 29, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Rich, do you think there is a possibility Cobb is traded by Friday? I know about the contract and the no-trade clause, but he’s been one of the best starters in the league since the All-Star game. The Yankees starting pitching is suspect. Sabathia is often injured and Severino imploded in their last one game playoff against the Twins. Cobb shores up the rotation for 3 more years, and could start the one game playoff game. Too far fetched?

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 29, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      Absolutely not, Chico. A team would have to take on the three years-plus of his $57 million contract.

  4. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    August 29, 2018 at 10:02 am

    Nice summary. Kline is someone who can throw hard and get strikeouts. He certainly has earned a shot. You could see Ortiz get a spot start or two. Sisco mainly because of catching depth plus Hayes who has bounced back from injuries and is hitting again. I am sure there will be more depending on the needs of the team.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 29, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      Thank you for the kind words, Grand Strand.

  5. Ekim

    August 29, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    I follow the four top Oriole farm teams an in spite of the comprehensive review you did, there’s not a one of them that deserves a call up… but they’ll do it anyway. You might as well put their names in a bowl and draw a few out. The brightest stars in the organization are one to two years out. Anybody we see this Fall is pretty much a “pretender” and it won’t prove much. How many more weeks of this charade do we have to suffer through? Just sayin…

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 29, 2018 at 2:27 pm

      Ekim, I’m intrigued to see Branden Kline and a rejuvenated Austin Hays. Gonzalez and Ortiz interest me, too. Perhaps after seeing them you’ll change your mind.

  6. deqalt

    August 29, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    I undestand your thinking for sure on people like Mountcastle, but at some point in Sept there is a value of a few of these guys to come up and soak in the atmosphere. Don’t have to play just warmup, travel the parks.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 29, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      One of the problems is the Orioles may have a crunch on 40-man roster spots. There are others who may come up, who need a roster spot. One can easily be made if Mark Trumbo goes on the 60-day DL, but there are a number of young players they want to look at, and maybe not enough spots.

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