Baltimore Orioles: A Roster Crunch is Coming


May 2, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy (2) and second baseman Jonathan Schoop (6) talk in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles are flying high after a 3-1 week which featured excellent pitching. Two shut outs, four quality starts and four runs allowed in four games.

Adam Jones is raking the ball, hitting over .400. Jimmy Parades continues to be a hitting machine, and Steve Pearce and Chris Davis both enter this week looking much better than they did entering last week.

There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the Orioles, where just a short time ago many fans had quite the opposite view.

And there is even more good news on the way, well mostly good news.  Remember, the Orioles have five major leaguers who are on the disabled list.

Ryan Flaherty and J.J. Hardy are the two closest to coming back.  Both are playing for AA Bowie this week, starting on Monday night.  Both could be activated as early as Friday. Flaherty likely will be ready by then, barring a setback. Hardy, who has not played in the majors yet this year, may need a little more time to get his timing down.

It will be a welcome sight to get Hardy back particularly, as the Orioles’ defense has not been up to recent standards.  Hardy will likely help with that, as long as he is fully healthy.

After Hardy, Wesley Wright and Matt Wieters are both due back, and eventually Jonathan Schoop.

But, for the sake of this argument, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

The first person to go down to AAA Norfolk will almost certainly be Rey Navarro. That’s not a knock on Navarro, however.

Rey has hit well for the Orioles in his 18 at-bats, with a batting average of .278 and a big RBI pinch-hitting for Steve Pearce on Sunday.

The other decision is going to be a lot more difficult.  Could Flaherty stay in the minors? That is one option. Another is to send down Everth Cabrera, who has an option remaining.

After that, it gets tricky. None of the outfielders, in De Aza, Snider or Lough, have options, and none would clear waivers. The Orioles could always send down a pitcher, but whoever it is they would lose, either to waivers, or in the case of Jason Garcia, the Rule 5 requirements.

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I think Cabrera should be the first option.  He is scuffling with the bat and won’t be starting with Hardy back, unless at second base. And with Steve Pearce playing second, which allows the team to get more hitters in the game, it really hurts Cabrera.

Now, O’s fans were worried about this when the season was getting ready to start, and then Paredes got hurt, and Hardy got hurt, and all of sudden there was no roster crunch.

Hopefully, this time the team has to make a tough decision on who to keep on the 25-man roster.

Next: Adam Jones is Crazy Hot