Baltimore Orioles: The Extra Large Annual Roster


Mar 24, 2014; Sarasota, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz (17) throws a pitch in the first inning of the spring training exhibition game against the Boston Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

As we are now just days away from the beginning of spring training for the Baltimore Orioles, baseball season cannot come soon enough. Surely many of you who read our daily musings come from around the country and even dwell in warm climates. But as I write these words on Saturday night in Maryland, the wind is howling, the temperatures are extremely frigid, and the sound of it all would portend the collapse of the house at any moment. Baseball season, Please come soon!

Also while approaching spring training and thinking about the Baltimore Orioles roster, so much of it appears to be very set. There are only a few openings, even as there are 56 players coming to big league camp. What chance do most of them have of ever seeing Baltimore – you know, beyond the 25-30 or so who figure to make up the 2015 version of the O’s?

Actually, a lot of them have a chance, and a lot of them will make appearances with the Orioles in 2015. And as incredible as it seems, before the books are closed on the season, there will be a few who we have no idea or imagination will play for the Birds.

How do I know this? Am I able to look ahead and see this transpiring?  Not at all. Actually, my authority to so definitively state the above is based upon looking rather at the past. Consider the number of players who appeared for the Baltimore Orioles the last three years:

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So it does right now seem pretty certain who will be on the Orioles to start the season, except for a few positions. The catchers will be Matt Wieters and Caleb Joseph. The infielders will be Chris Davis, Jonathan Schoop, J.J. Hardy, Manny Machado … with Ryan Flaherty as reserve. The outfielders will be Alejando De Aza, Adam Jones, and Travis Snider as the probable starters, with Steve Pearce and Delmon Young as DH and backups, along with David Lough. There are 13 players.

The pitchers will include the six guys going for the five starter positions – you know who they are. The relievers will certainly include Zach Britton, Darren O’Day, and Tommy Hunter. That only leaves three more relievers, and we’ve not mentioned Brian Matusz, Wesley Wright, Brad Brach, T.J. McFarland and Ryan Webb … we’re already two men over the 25-man limit.

But others will play at various times. There will particularly be ups and downs with relievers. But still, it looks crazy at this point to imagine even 35 different names playing for the 2015 Baltimore Orioles, let alone seeing it get to 44, or even to the low 50s.

So many of these guys on the fringe are playing in the spring to be available for a call-up, or, in the bigger picture to be presenting themselves for 2016 after the O’s lose more than a couple of this year’s regulars. It never lacks for interest!

Next: Looking ahead to the 2017 Orioles