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Orioles: The Roster Takes Shape

I almost feel guilty writing about this now, since you all have already covered it ably in the comments. That’s the kind of discussion that reminds me why this site exists and gets me stoked for what’s to come. You all are in mid-season form, and it’s much appreciated.

In the interest of main page posterity, though, let’s take it from the top.

Two bits of news leaked out today regarding the eventual shape of the Orioles‘ 25-man roster:

Craig Tatum beat Chad Moeller for the backup catching spot
David Hernandez beat Chris Tillman for the fifth starter slot, with Jason Berken heading to the bullpen

The catching decision is somewhat odd, but only because we all assumed it was Moeller’s job. In reality it hardly matters, and if DT thinks Tatum is the guy then, hey, Tatum’s the guy. Fine with me.

As you might guess, I like the Hernandez decision. Not because I don’t believe in Tillman, of course, I just think Hernandez is the better choice right now. Maybe that’s no longer true come May. We’ll find out. Depth is always — always — good.

Roch also has some notes on further cuts but none of them are newsworthy. We’ve got a pretty good picture now of which 25 will go north.

Which begs the question: what do you think? Enough firepower to survive that grueling first month?

15 comments to Orioles: The Roster Takes Shape

  • Andrew

    I actually just had an interesting thought. I’ve never been a believer in David Hernandez, but of course I understand that he deserves some kind of shot, and meanwhile you’re facing this horrible stretch of games to open the season.

    Solution: keep Tillman away from the nightmare stretch and give Hernandez his big opportunity. Win-win-win.

    I doubt that this was what Andy MacPhail is thinking, but regardless I would guess that Tillman should be knocking down the door by May 11 or so.

  • dan the man

    @Andrew – II don’t doubt that the schedule in some small way effected the decision to demote Tillman. It’s not the main reason, but I think it’s a factor. By going with Hernandez, you’re going with the hot hand, you’re giving him his fair shot, and you’re giving Tillman a minute to find his control not against the best lineups in baseball. As a side note, to DT’s credit, he’s also held his word about the 5th spot being an open competition.

    It’s not a bad decision as long as Tillman doesn’t just end up toiling down there for too long. Get him up quick and this will probably be, like you said, win-win-win.

  • dan the man

    Well, Bergesen is imploding and the Tigers swiped two bags with Tatum behind the plate, so there goes that theory. Boy o boy.

  • Andrew

    @dan the man – I was waiting for the overreaction (no offense, dan). It’s just one inning…in spring training. Nothing to see here.

  • dan the man

    @Andrew – Sigh.. I know, I know.

    It’s hard to not put more stock into late spring training games, though. Bergesen looks to have settled down at least. I just find the Tatum thing kind of ironic.

  • dan the man

    3 home runs and lots of fly ball outs. This is not Brad Bergesen. Where is Brad Bergesen.

  • Andrew

    @dan the man – I told myself the past two nights that after this year, I am NEVER going to pay attention to Spring Training ever again. It’s way too frustrating. I sit here and listen to the games and have to tell myself over and over again “None of this means anything. Read nothing into anything!” But then what am I watching for?

    You’re right, though, this isn’t Brad Bergesen. His sinker hasn’t exactly been working yet this spring, but I hope he’ll get it where it needs to be. That’s certainly one of my big fears for the year.

  • dan the man

    I hate spring training. But I love it because it’s the first baseball of the year. But then I hate it.

    Bad O’s vibes today. Just one of those days.

  • dan the man

    O’s take lead! That improves my mood. Tejada 4-4.

    I didn’t like the Roch comment about Jones excessively watching some of those Bergesen home runs. Definitely frown on that, but we already know we’re going to have to take AJ’s ego with his talent.

  • sci

    * Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, Troy Patton, Brandon Erbe and Alfredo Simon will be the starters at Triple-A Norfolk.

    Wow, nice rotation. The days of Rick Krivda-types being the top starters at AAA are over. Remember, Simon was in the major league rotation at the beginning of last year, and now he is the #5 starter at Norfolk.

  • dan the man

    @sci – Depth, baby. Norfolk will be real interesting this year. We’ll be looking for Tillman to be consistent and utilize the cutter and Arrieta to just put up numbers. Erbe just got there, so it will be interesting to see if he has success. Patton is sort of an enigma, and Simon too coming off surgery. Bell, Snyder, Hughes, Turner, Montanez, Aubrey are all down there. Norfolk’s gonna make some noise for sure.

  • dan the man

    I’m digging Boddicker in the booth. Eddie sort of weirdly criticized Markakis after Manfra prompted him with, “How about Nick Markakis and that sweet swing?” After an awkward pause, Murray says something about him not being aggressive with his swing like Jones (who he had previously named as a hitter that he really likes on the team) and how he hopes all the young guys continue to improve. It’s like, dude have you even watched an O’s game in 10 years? Didn’t know about Pie, either. I think he’ll be good fun in the booth this year, but it’s funny how none of these guys probably even watch O’s games, really, or know the makeup of the roster.

  • Larry

    I generally don’t put much stock in spring training games because plenty of guys seem to bring a new game when it starts counting, and other guys go cold with the weather.

    BUT, I think it means a bit more with a team full of rookies and almost-rookies, guys who have never done it consistently at the major league level. I think the first couple of months will look a lot like spring training — not much consistency, but glimmers of greatness. For pitchers, especially, damn few get anywhere near their peaks in their first full year in the majors.

    So I look to see a lot of Jason Berken in April and May. First because he’s one of only two guys who can go long, and second, ’cause I think Hendrickson exceeded his very limited abilities last year.

    But I’m getting ahead of myself. No question, it’s gonna be a lot more fun and interesting this year. Frustrating, yes, but better by far. And there will be days — perhaps not many in a row, but more than we’ve seen in a long time — when we catch a glimpse of the future and it looks awfully good.

  • Andrew

    @Larry – I think you’re wrong about Hendo. He’s starting to age, but his career numbers as a reliever are fantastic (3.40 ERA, .299 OBP against? Yes please!), and actually just a bit better than what he did last year.

    Having had the day to think about it, I really like the Tatum move. For one, because Tatum is a better player than Moeller. For two, it tells Matt Wieters: you know what, you’re a man, you don’t need a “mentor”, and all that “mentor” bunk is bunk anyhow. Go get’em, kid.

    That is an attitude I can dig from this team.

  • Ballmer Bruce

    Glad to see Tillman getting some time at Norfolk to fine tune his control and hopefully work some more on the cutter.

    Hernandez deserves a shot to start season based on great performance in spring.

    Will be watching the performance of the Norfolk staff closely.