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Assessing the Orioles’ Roster So Far

So I was doing a series called “Orioles 2011 Outlook” where I planned to go position-by-position with thoughts on what to expect from each of them. Scratch that. Way I see it, interest in that kind of thing is low and you can probably guess what I’m going to say anyway. That, and I haven’t really had much zeal for speculation this spring. I just want the games to start.

Good news is we’re close now — tantalizingly so — and today we saw the first flurry of activity in regards to the eventual Opening Day roster. Five more cuts to come before the deal is sealed.

A few thoughts:

Nolan Reimold deserved a spot, no question. His numbers this spring far outpaced Felix Pie and by all accounts the troubles of 2010 are behind him. It just sucks that he has an option and Pie doesn’t. Keeping both wouldn’t have made sense, so sending Reimold out is the pragmatic move. No sense risking the loss of Pie, who remains a legitimate asset. Reimold will get his shot.

Zach Britton is a guy who I’m tempted to say deserves a spot, but that wouldn’t be accurate. One great spring does not erase the fact that he’s only pitched 66.1 innings in AAA. I’ve watched enough baseball to know that rushing guys to the big leagues is, more often than not, a terrible strategy. Maybe Britton’s ready, but I see no downside in letting him continue to develop and force the issue.

And, yeah, you do have to consider the service time clock. That’s just one reality of baseball-as-a-business. As a result, let’s see how Bergesen vs. Tillman plays out.

Mark Hendrickson seems to have gotten a bit of a raw deal. He’s been a good soldier here and it seems odd he’d be left out in favor of a bullpen carrying only one lefty. But, I trust Buck when he says they’re going north with the best 25. If Hendrickson isn’t one of them then so be it. I just hope this one doesn’t come back to bite us.

Beyond that, no real surprises or issues. The thing I’m really looking forward to is the decision re: Jake Fox. It’s hard to see a justification for him not making the team, numbers-wise, but the case is less compelling when you start thinking about where and when he’ll actually play.

But, again, best 25. That’s all I ask.

On another note: Andrew might want to say more about this (might not) but my understanding is that there’s a gathering of sorts in the works for O’s bloggers/blog readers on Friday at Pickles Pub. Not sure yet if I can make it but it’s definitely cool and, more likely than not, worth your time if you’re so inclined. Credit the good folks at Camden Chat for that one.

Four days away. Damn if it isn’t a wonderful thing.

5 comments to Assessing the Orioles’ Roster So Far

  • Rust-Man

    I agree about Britton here. He does look to have the makings of a great pitcher, but the experience is lacking. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him starting next year.

    Reimold. I do enjoy seeing him play. Would love to see him finally get a full season with the Orioles. But I have faith in ol’ Buck and his strategy. Whatever is best for the team.

    Was also surprised about Hendrickson. I thought he was a half decent pitcher, but ol’ Buck must be seeing something elsewhere and hopefully it will work out for the best.

    Jake Fox has surprised the hell out of me this spring. Was very doubtful about him last year, but he sure seems to have gotten it together.

    Would love to gather with other O’s fans at Pickles! But I am in York, PA with short funds so it can’t happen. Maybe next time ;)

    3 days now, Neal. 3 days.

  • dan the man

    The thing that killed Reimold wasn’t even the options thing, it was the fact that he can’t back up the injury-prone Jones in CF. Or at least, they don’t think he can, and they don’t want to put Markakis there. Which is understandable. It’s only a matter of time before one of Luke, Lee, or Vlad gets a minor injury and we’ll see Nolan. In the meantime, I’ll be excited to see Pie run around like a crazy man.

    Looks like Josh Rupe is the long man on this pitching staff, and I guess I’m willing to see what he can do over Hendrickson. Mark has his moments, but he’s had plenty of pretty terrible moments. But he is a good dude and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back at some point.

  • Larry

    @ dan the man:

    I agree that Reimold’s undoing comes down to the fact that someone has to back-up Jones in center. Also, let’s also not forget that Reimold’s career was in freefall last year. I’m thrilled that he seems to have put his life back together, but I have no problem giving him regular AB’s at Norfolk and letting him force his way back.

    Seems to me that Buck wants a number of options for long relief, rather than always do the one inning at a time crap that was a hallmark of the last manager. It’s not just Rupe who can go long, but also Berken and, for the time being, either Bergensen or Tillman.

    Can’t figure out what Andino brings to the mix, though, or why the O’s are so sure/care whether he can clear waivers. I liked what I saw of Ryan Adams — not saying he’s ready yet, but the guy sure can hit.

  • Andrew

    @ Larry:
    It’s possible Andino runs better than Izturis, who isn’t a good enough base-stealer, and he undoubtedly hits better than Izzy, too. There’s definitely some redundancy between those two, though.

  • looking4perfect

    I’m going to Turps to watch the game. Anybody else?