Another day, a few more moves made by Baltimore Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette. With Spring Training kicking off less than a month away (raise your hand if you are excited…OK everyone can put their hand down!) the Orioles roster is rounding into shape.
The latest moves involve inviting several people to their mini-camp, and having discussions with the agents for several other players. Those names include Delmon Young, Jack Cust, Ervin Santana and the ‘Sheriff,’ Mark Reynolds.
Young was invited to spring training on a minor league deal. I think this is useful. Duquette went out and signed another piece of depth. Young started most of the year in Philadelphia last year. No way is he going to be an every day player for the O’s. He may be part of a platoon, or be a pinch hitter, or maybe start out in Norfolk for depth. A check of his numbers shows the guy is a hitter, and that will play anywhere. If you want more or the Young signing, click here.
Cust is a guy who most think is washed up, and only had a few good MLB seasons. But, he is another piece that could prove useful if he gets hot in the minors, much like Lew Ford did.
Mark Reynolds is obviously a more interesting conversation. The guy is adored in Baltimore, but where would the team put him? First base and third base both seem to be out of the question, at least when Manny Machado comes back. He could be a full-time DH, but that takes away a lot of roster flexibility, and also means a ton of strikeouts are coming from the DH position. I just can’t see this coming together, no matter how many Orioles fans want the ‘Sheriff’ back in town.
Ervin Santana is obviously a different kind of conversation. Santana would be a mid-line starter, who would probably slate as a 2 or 3 in the Orioles rotation. My refrain for months has been it is all about the pitching, so I am a big fan of at least looking at his medical reports, which is what the Birds are doing.
The roster is getting stacked with minor league contracts that have major league experience. Delmon Young, Alexi Casilla, Quintin Berry, Xavier Paul, Julio Borbon. Gone are the days when the top prospects play for Norfolk. Dan Duquette is working to solidify the organization in all areas. That may mean that some of the top prospects don’t get much time in AAA, but that is becoming a trend across baseball, where call-ups may come straight from AA. This organizational depth is key, something the Orioles sorely lacked.
The organizational depth certainly exists in the field, but when it comes down to it, the major need is still all about pitching. That needs to be the Orioles focus over the next month, and I think it will be.