Baltimore Orioles: Guessing the 25-Man Roster on December 25


Mar 31, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; The Baltimore Orioles bird mascot runs out on the orange carpet before an opening day baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Red Sox 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

With this being year two of this sports blog called The Baltimore Wire, I’m going to make it an annual Christmas Day tradition to guess the eventual Baltimore Orioles 25-man roster on the 25th of December.

Actually, looking back to last year, we successfully predicted a total of 19 out of the 25 players who opened the season. Five of those six names who did make the team, however, were not even in the Orioles organization on Christmas Day last year – and there is instruction in that.

The six wrong selections were:

  • Evan Meek rather than Brad Brach – Meek was a winter audition addition, and after a great spring training made the team … though Brach would prove better in the long run.
  • Jonathan Schoop, Steve Lombardozzi instead of Jemile Weeks and Manny Machado. There were still hopes a year ago today that Machado would return, and if not, that Schoop might play. Lombardozzi was traded to the Orioles on 3/24/14, played for a while, and has been little heard of since then.
  • Nelson Cruz rather that Nolan Reimond – Nobody in their wildest imaginations thought Cruz would end up with the Orioles.
  • Delmon Young instead of Michael Almanzar – Given the long Rule 5 history of the Orioles, I was banking on Almanzar being there on opening day. Young was signed as a free agent on 1/15/14. Let’s hope that happens again!
  • Ubaldo Jimenez rather than Kevin Gausman – Again, nobody foresaw Ubaldo with the Orioles, and in fact it was Gausman who would take his place permanently in the rotation.
  • Josh Stinson rather than Steve Johnson – Stinson was hot for a while, especially at the end of 2013. He is now signed as a free agent with the Pirates.

As I’ve mentioned before about years of baseball writing, when speculating far in advance about rosters, there are two overarching truths:

First, when you make the list and write down the names, honestly, you get to 19 or 20 names really quickly that you know, apart from injury or strangely unforeseen events, are locks to be on the roster. So all of the writing and fretting that we do is about a handful of names and positions at most.

Secondly, when it comes to trying to speculate on who will fill those final couple or three positions, it is amazing how many names, possibilities, and scenarios come to mind. And this is very, very true for the Orioles this year, as it was last year. A lot of it will depend upon who plays well in spring training.

So here is a best guess on Christmas Day. I am going to speculate on Delmon Young eventually being signed…

Position Players and DH

C – Matt Wieters

1B – Chris Davis (actually day 2 – Christian Walker day 1)

2B – Jonathan Schoop

SS – J.J. Hardy

3B – Manny Machado

LF – Alejandro De Aza

CF – Adam Jones

RF – Steve Pearce

DH – Delmon Young

Backup Catcher / Subs

Caleb Joseph (with Ryan Lavarnway if Wieters is not ready)

Ryan Flaherty

David Lough

Henry Urrutia

Starting Rotation

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Chris Tillman

Wei-Yin Chen

Kevin Gausman

Bud Norris

Miguel Gonzalez


Ubaldo Jimenez (long relief)

Brad Brach (long relief)

Wesley Wright (rather than Brian Matusz – who will be traded)

Ryan Webb

Tommy Hunter

Darren O’Day

Zach Britton (closer)

So this lineup anticipates a 12-man pitching staff at the beginning of the season. But honestly, there are so many variant possibilities.