When the Orioles add minor league players to the 40-man roster later this month, some players will have to be removed.
In 2019, the Orioles added four players from their minor league system to the 40-man roster. Last year, there were six additions. There are 35 players on the 40-man roster, and reliever Fernando Abad is about to come off when free agency begins.
While there will be roster adjustments between now and the time of the December 8th Rule 5 draft, the Orioles probably will want two open roster spots in advance of the draft.
One of the difficulties in deciding which players to drop is that many of the players who could be considered have limited experience with the Orioles. Let’s look at some of them:
Nick Ciuffo: The Orioles have two catchers on the 40-man roster, veteran Pedro Severino and Ciuffo. The Orioles are likely to cut ties with Severino before the December 2nd deadline for offering contracts. According to MajorLeagueTradeRumors.com, Severino could draw a $3.1 million salary as an arbitration-eligible player, and the Orioles are expected to bring up top prospect Adley Rutschman to be their primary catcher.
Last year, the Orioles let designated hitter Reñato Nuñez go ahead of the contract deadline because they knew they couldn’t trade him.
Ciuffo could be the only catcher on the 40-man roster heading into the draft, but he played only two games for the Orioles in the final days of the season.
Austin Wynns, who was the backup to Severino for most of the season, declared for free agency last month after he cleared outright waivers.
Marcos Diplán: Diplán had a strong start after his debut on August 6th. He didn’t allow a hit in his first four appearances, and the only batter to reach base against him in his first 6 1/3 innings was on a walk.
The opposition caught up with the 25-year-old right-hander, but he ended up pitching in 23 games with a 2-0 record and a 4.50 ERA.
Conner Greene: Greene made his Orioles debut on July 27th, was lost on waivers to the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 9th and, after two scoreless appearances with the Dodgers, was reclaimed by the Orioles two weeks later.
In 22 games, Greene was 1-3 with a 7.71 ERA, but manager Brandon Hyde liked his fastball. Greene struck out 24 batters in 23 1/3 innings, and allowed just one home run.
Eric Hanhold: Hyde was impressed by the 28-year-old right-hander during spring training 2020 but, even though he was invited to the alternate site, he never made it to Baltimore until this past September.
Hanhold pitched in 10 games, allowing nine runs, one unearned, on 13 hits in 10 1/3 innings. He never appeared in a game the Orioles won.
Joey Krehbiel: Krehbiel was claimed on waivers by the Orioles from the Tampa Bay Rays on September 18th and appeared in five games, allowing four runs on five hits in 7 1/3 innings.
Krehbiel gave up just one hit in 4 1/3 scoreless innings in his first three outings, then allowed four runs on four hits in his final three innings. Hyde tried Krehbiel in some tight spots at first, and he delivered.
Brooks Kriske: Kriske, who was claimed on waivers from the New York Yankees on September 16th, was 1-0 with a 12.27 ERA in four appearances.
The right-hander attracted interest initially because he was named after Orioles great Brooks Robinson. Kriske allowed four runs in 1 1/3 innings at Toronto on October 1st.
Isaac Mattson: The 26-year-old right-hander was one of four pitchers acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in the trade for Dylan Bundy in December 2019.
Mattson is the first of the four to make the majors and had four widely spaced appearances: May 7th, July 3rd, August 7th and October 1st. He allowed three runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings for a 6.23 ERA.
Note: Orioles vice president/assistant general manager Sig Mejdal, who heads up the team’s analytics operation, could be a candidate for the vacant New York Mets general manager position, according to a tweet by The Athletic. The Orioles would need to allow Mejdal, who accompanied executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias to Baltimore from Houston in November 2018, to interview for the position.