Hyde says Orioles' final roster decisions will be tough - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Hyde says Orioles’ final roster decisions will be tough

Photo credit of Mac Sceroler: Joy R. Absalon

The Orioles’ final Grapefruit League game is in just eight days, and it seems that each day there are new factors that complicate the makeup of the 26-man roster for the April 1st opener at Boston.

When outfielder DJ Stewart hurt his right hamstring on March 5th, manager Brandon Hyde reported that it was a tweak and that Stewart wouldn’t miss much time. Never underestimate a hamstring injury. Stewart hasn’t returned and, with just eight spring training at-bats, time is running out. A spot on the 26-man roster is unlikely.

Relief pitcher Hunter Harvey has already been placed on the 60-day injured list because of a strained left oblique. Chris Davis might be headed there. He has had just two at-bats, coming in the first exhibition game on February 28th, because of a back injury. If he’s put on the 60-day injured list, that will open another spot on the 40-man roster.

One opened this week when right-hander Ashton Goudeau was claimed on waivers by the San Francisco Giants. Veteran right-hander Matt Harvey, who pitched well on Saturday night (one run, one hit in four innings), will have to be added to the major league roster.

Another veteran right-hander, Félix Hernández, would have to be added, too, but he might not be ready to start the season because of discomfort in his right elbow. Hernández, Matt Harvey and left-hander Wade LeBlanc were signed to minor league contracts and would all have to be added to the 40-man roster.

“I still think we have a lot of question marks, so it’s not just one specific area,” Hyde said. “I think we have question marks [in] the rotation. We have question marks [in the] bullpen. We have question marks as it comes to some of our extra infielders. I think we have a lot of things to still finalize before we leave.”

Assuming John Means, Dean Kremer and Harvey are the first three starters, that leaves Keegan Akin, who pitched in an intrasquad game on Saturday, for one spot and either LeBlanc, Jorge López or Bruce Zimmermann for the last—assuming the Orioles go with five starters.

LeBlanc helped himself with three hitless innings against Pittsburgh on Friday. López hurt himself when he gave up three home runs in a seven-run third inning on Sunday.

Zimmermann, who pitched five innings in an intrasquad on Friday, has nine scoreless innings this spring, allowing just one hit.

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If López doesn’t make the team, he’ll go on waivers because he’s out of minor league options.

The two Rule 5 picks, Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells, who seemed like long shots in the early days of camp, made a strong case for themselves with two shutout innings each on Saturday night against the New York Yankees.

Sceroler, who appeared to put himself behind the others on March 5th when he gave up five runs and recorded one out against Toronto, allowed one hit against the Yankees. Wells has allowed just one run on six hits in six innings this spring. He also gave up just one hit on Saturday night.

“We’re trying to evaluate them correctly and get them as many game innings on the mound to see how they react,” Hyde said. “That’s been a priority.”

Reliever Paul Fry has had a difficult spring and it continued when he gave up one run on two hits in two innings on Sunday. He’s allowed runs in four of his five outings and has a 13.50 ERA.

Fry and Travis Lakins, who has a 10.38 ERA  in 4 1/3 innings, have options remaining. As a left-hander, Fry has the advantage.

If the Orioles want to keep one or both Rule 5 picks, Fry, Lakins, Cole Sulser and Dillon Tate could all be vulnerable to an option to Triple-A Norfolk.

Shawn Armstrong and César Valdez, who’ll be the nominal starter on Tuesday against the Rays, don’t have options but both have been impressive this spring.

“We have a lot of guys for 13 or 14 spots,” Hyde said. “Still might carry 14 pitchers, might carry 13. Who knows? A lot of things to figure out this last week.”

Another injury or a waiver claim could further cloud the picture.

“We’re not close yet to making any final decision right now,” Hyde said.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Camden82

    March 21, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    Tyler Wells is a keeper. Lakins and Sulser have no business on the roster, and have options remaining. Wells is outperforming Lopez. Keep Wells, that’s an obvious IMO.

    Fry hasn’t been good either. He has options. That should also be an easy decision, until he proves in AAA he has corrected whatever mechanical flaw is leading to these abysmal Spring numbers.

    Akin..what’s with all the love for this kid? He doesn’t mow em down. He can use some more seasoning.

    Harvey’s actually looked great recently. It could take years for problems related to thoracic outlet syndrome to fully resolve. He’s finally (100%?) healthy.

    I have a feeling LeBlanc makes the team, and ends up with a 5+ ERA before he’s sent packing. But, I did not expect these Spring numbers from him.

    • BrooksPJs

      March 21, 2021 at 6:20 pm

      Tyler Wells quality of opponents during spring training is 5.0 per Baseball Reference (equivalent to High A players). Lopez quality of opponents this spring training is 8.2 (8 is AAA).

      Akin K/9 was 12.3 in 2020 and is 14.9 this spring.

    • Ekim

      March 21, 2021 at 11:52 pm

      Brooks… I’ve followed Akin since he arrived at Bowie. He was an enigma back then what with his inconsistency and it still holds true. He’s like Forrest Gump’s famous comment about a box of chocolates every time he takes the mound… you don’t know what you’re going to get. When he’s “on” it’s great but when he’s “off” you wonder how did he get this far. My take is that they’re hoping he’ll be another John Means and all of a sudden, find himself. When he first arrived I predicted the inconsistency and as it turns out, I was right… just saying…

  2. Baltimore Castaway

    March 21, 2021 at 6:10 pm

    Lots of decisions to be made..

    This is shaping-up to be a young/scrappy team…

    They should be fun to watch…

    Great reporting and insight here Rich–certainly a lot for you to be keeping track of.

  3. CalsPals

    March 21, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    That’s what Mikey gets paid the big bucks for…go O’s…

  4. CalsPals

    March 21, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    BrooksPJ is the stat guru, thanx for digging some of that stuff up, maybe Mikey would hire you as one of his analytic guys…go O’s…

  5. Bhoffman1

    March 21, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    I agree that Lakins and Sulser have no business on this roster but they will be there. Fry is sure looking bad but he will be here too. Dillion Tate is a no brainer. Chris Davis should be on a whole season DL when the poor strain in the back gets better I’m sure we can find something else to DL him.

  6. 33d St

    March 21, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    Deck chairs on the Titanic. Sorry but for some reason, this year’s squad seems even duller and gloomier than the previous couple. Nothing about this steaming heap of nothingness says “optimism” or “bright future” to me. This pile looks like it has the potential to flirt with .500 in 2-3 years before they have to tear it down again and re-rebuild.

    • Ekim

      March 21, 2021 at 11:54 pm

      33d St… you are more optimistic than I am!

  7. calvinisthobbesian

    March 21, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    So many decisions, so little talent. Hello 100 losses, again. We missed you last year.

  8. IrishAl81

    March 21, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    Might make sense to continue to look at the Rule 5 guys into the regular season before whether to send one or both back. Hard to know what you have with this sample size.

  9. dlgruber1

    March 21, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    I have always gone back and forth about the “service time” issue. I see both sides of it. However, seeing all the young guys now playing great at the major league level I find myself leaning more towards bringing the youngsters up and let them work thru some growing pains. I’d simply much rather, as a fan, watch Rutschman, Rodriguez and Hall struggle, than watch Severino/Sisco and whoever the 4th and 5th starters will be struggle. I want something to look forward to. Not saying I’m right about feeling they way, just being honest.

    • CalsPals

      March 21, 2021 at 8:07 pm

      With you 100% DL…go O’s…

  10. Orial

    March 21, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    Starting to wonder who’s more injury prone–Stewart or Hunter Harvey. As morbid/crass as this may sound Davis has conveniently picked up the knack for a good amount of IL time at an opportune time. Other than Means,Scott and maybe Zimmerman just throw the rest of the pitchers in a hat and pick numbers. I’m just worried that the powers that be are gonna take two one-dimensional 3rd basemen(Ruiz Franco) north with them. Is it 2022 yet?

    • Ekim

      March 22, 2021 at 12:03 am

      Oriel… I’ve been saying that about Stewart ( on top of not really believing he’s truly Major League quality) for a couple of years now. Harvey is but his body isn’t made to take the beating a major pitcher has to take. It’s time to just give up on him and to stop teasing the fans with his “potential”… just saying…

  11. B.C. Bird

    March 21, 2021 at 8:58 pm

    What’s with all the errors? How do we contend going forward when we still struggle with the basics. Glad am I that smarter people are managing this team, if it were me I would be panicking
    Keep the faith

    • WorldlyView

      March 22, 2021 at 4:42 pm

      B.C.B., I don’t think it is a given that smarter people than you are in charge of this team. And I don’t think they are anywhere near panicking; cutting costs and planning for 2023-24 are the current priorities, not this season’s win/loss record.

  12. Bman

    March 21, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    Lakins hasn’t done much this spring. Not sure why he should make the roster. Os regularly put little into spring training stats though and pick whoever they want to go north. Cannot see them bringing Ruiz but I’ve been surprised before. They may take a shot at Wells at least for a couple of months. Valaika is the utility guy. Harvey and Zimmerman make the rotation. Lopez is long guy. Davis may be on the IL all year long with one “ailment” after another. It would be great to have Stewart out there regularly but OF is crowded. One or two guys get traded by July. .

  13. mcwalsh

    March 22, 2021 at 8:57 am

    We should remember that Hyde and the coaches are seeing the team members perform on the back fields and in sim games, in addition to the spring training games. We don’t know much about the results from those, but that will be factored in along with the results from the spring training games. It is entertaining to speculate on how the opening day roster might look, but fans like us only have limited access to all the data that will be considered. I am optimistic for the future, and would not be surprised at all if 2021 saw the team win 65-70 games.

    • Baltimore Castaway

      March 22, 2021 at 9:35 am

      I see this as “The Plan” for the Orioles in ’21;

      – see who you have for the future (except the more obvious Top 10-15 the Orioles already are waiting on) who will be able to contribute to a contending team,

      – lose enough so that they get a top 3-5 pick in the ’22 Amateur Draft,

      – trade players of value (Santander, Mancini) who won’t be part of the longer term future.

  14. NormOs

    March 22, 2021 at 12:18 pm

    I’m afraid Mr. Hyde has very little say in the “Final Roster”. Only “Genius 1” will select the roster hence you see the names above. Still mostly minor leaguers and the infamous “Waiver Wire” (people with no trade value) will be the basis for this sorry … team, except the outfield and 1st base. Question, again: Why five starters when they go no more than 4/5 innings? Four starters are quite enough. No one is that fragile that they need 4 days off between 5 inning starts.

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