Mar 16, 2014; Dunedin, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Alfredo Aceves (91) throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles Roster – Final Spring Decisions


Thinking back just a few weeks, it was difficult to imagine how the Baltimore Orioles roster was going to be whittled down from a spring training camp with 62 names to a list of 25 to take north. Of course there were about 18 names as certainties, along with a host of others destined for AAA or AA while getting a big-league camp experience.

And now four days before the opening game, it is down to a couple of decisions to be made. The starting rotation is set. And the outfield situation clarified itself after the decisions to send down Quintin Berry and Henry Urrutia, along with Nolan Reimold headed to the familiar DL. Urrutia will be back someday, and I pity the poor International League pitching he is going to ravage. And, as much as I really like Reimold and have been one of his bandwagon folks, wow, it is difficult to hold on.

Still to be defined is this infield situation. Let’s work back from where the Orioles hope to be a year from now … and that would be with Manny Machado at third, J.J. Hardy (with contract extended) at short, Jonathan Schoop at second, and Chris Davis at first. That even looks good in print, doesn’t it? The backup infielder would be the best of Ryan Flaherty or Steve Lombardozzi – based upon their 2014 performance.

Working back from a month from now, where the O’s hope to have Machado at third, the presumption would be Flaherty and Lombo at second … that is, unless the Orioles decide to go for it now on making it happen with Schoop. It would seem to me that it fits the Baltimore pattern of behavior to delay the clock on young players and let them grow up at AAA, though advancing the timepiece worked with Machado.

The other outstanding decision is clarifying the final two bullpen positions, where it seems to me that guys who strike out the side in final spring training games should be seriously considered – and they are. That would be Evan Meek – who earned a save against Boston by striking them out in the bottom of the 9th on nine consecutive pitchers! That boy deserves a bonus for doing that against the Red Sox – I don’t care if it was in a video game!

The other was Josh Stinson, who gained six strikeouts in two innings last evening against the Rays … although you have to also toss in three walks and his own throwing error (and a catcher’s error) – all in the 9th inning. He is out of options and been assumed by most folks to be on the team. The question is to retain Meek or the veteran Aceves. I’d go the humble route with Meek. Here are the spring training stats for each, noting – to be fair – that the quality of players Aceves has faced is a bit better …

Year

Name

Age

W

L

ERA

G

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

WHIP

OppQual

2014 Meek

26

1

0

0.00

6

  9.0

4

2

0

0

5

13

1.000

7.4

2014 Aceves

31

0

1

4.50

6

10.0

11

5

5

3

2

6

1.300

8.3

Tags: Alfredo Aceves Baltimore Orioles Evan Meek Jonathan Schoop Josh Stinson