Orioles face decisions on players without options - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Orioles face decisions on players without options

Photo Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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SARASOTA, Florida—The Orioles have 58 players in their spring training camp. By March 28th, Opening Day, they’ll have to remove 31 players from their roster. Félix Bautista, who won’t pitch this season because of Tommy John surgery, is already on the 60-day injured list. Two of their starting pitchers, Kyle Bradish (right elbow) and John Means (left elbow), will start the season on the injured list.

At the moment, they have 39 players on their 40-man roster, leaving an opening if they make a waiver claim or add baseball’s No. 1 prospect, 20-year-old shortstop/second baseman Jackson Holliday.

They also could add two players who were signed to minor league contracts — 33-year-old right-handed pitcher Julio Teheran or 33-year-old left-hand hitting second baseman Kolten Wong. That would require the removal of players on their 40-man roster.

The Orioles have several players who have no options remaining on their 40-man roster, which means to send them to Triple-A Norfolk, the Orioles would expose them to waivers and risk losing them.

On February 28th, the Orioles tried to sneak outfielder Sam Hilliard, who didn’t have any options remaining, through the waiver process, but one of his former teams, the Colorado Rockies, claimed him.

As spring training winds down, decisions must be made on players on the periphery of the 26-man roster, including infielders Jorge Mateo, Ramón Urías, Nick Maton and Tyler Nevin, outfielder Ryan McKenna, and right-handed relievers Mike Baumann and Jacob Webb. None has an option remaining.

Some will make the 26-man Opening Day roster. Others might be lost.

Manager Brandon Hyde acknowledged those decisions will be difficult.

“I think that’s why you’re going to see us probably have a bigger camp toward the end than normal,” Hyde said. “We’re going to be making so many decisions in the last couple of days. One of those reasons is we have a lot of guys who are out of options. We’re going to try to hold on to these guys as long as possible, evaluate everything, try to stay healthy as much as we possibly can, see where we are the last couple of days before we break.”

Chances of getting those players through waivers might increase near the end of spring training when other teams are doing the same thing. If they’re able to get players through waivers, they can keep them at Triple-A Norfolk in case they’re needed.

“That is part of the business, and it’s part of the game, and options and lack of options are part of the decision-making process,” Hyde said. “This year, we have quite a few guys that don’t have any options left. That’s going to factor into our decisions.”

Notes: Centerfielder Cedric Mullins, who hasn’t played since leaving the March 4th game with right hamstring discomfort, said his goal is to play on Thursday when the Orioles play Pittsburgh at Bradenton. … Nineteen-year-old catcher/first baseman Samuel Basallo is on the trip to Tampa for the game against the New York Yankees, but he isn’t in the starting lineup. Basallo, who hasn’t played this spring because of a stress fracture in his right elbow, could get some at-bats as the designated hitter after Anthony Santander leaves the game. Basallo is scheduled to play in Thursday’s Spring Breakout game when the Orioles’ prospects play the Pirates’ prospects. … Fans can attend workouts at the Twin Lakes minor league complex through Tuesday from 12 p.m. to the end of workouts. Games will be played from March 13th-29th. Admission is free and games begin at 1 p.m. … There will be a free workout on March 26th at Oriole Park. Gates open at 6 p.m., and at 6:30, there will be a question and answer segment with Hyde and executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias. The workout begins at 7 p.m. Fans must obtain a free ticket at Orioles.com/OpeningDay. Parking will be available in Lot A.

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