Baltimore Orioles Spring Training Non-Roster Invitees: Infielders and Utility
You always need extra catchers in Spring Training, and that is why Perez is on this list. There would have to be a mini-catastrophe for him to make the team, as Caleb Joseph, Chance Sisco, Austin Wynns and probably a seasoned veteran free agent would all be ahead of him on the depth chart.
This isn’t to say I think the team will sign a veteran free agent at this point, although it is certainly possible. But, if there were some injuries it would increase the likelihood of that dramatically.
Next is Ryan Mountcastle, and I think this is exciting for everyone. Mountcastle can hit, and he will likely get to go on a lot of road trips to prove that. However, his big question mark is where he will play defensively in the major leagues. Mountcastle will be working at third base, which is a position the Orioles are relatively short at right now.
Following Mountcastle are four different utility infielder types. I’ve written extensively about Rosa before, and am very happy to see him getting his first (and deserving) invite. Rosa previously is brought along on road trips and rakes. Now, as someone who will be at Spring Training, if he can put up a great spring it might help his prospects of pushing his way on to the roster.
The other impact on his long-shot prospects will be what the other candidates for the utility position do. Ruben Tejada should probably be considered the favorite since he held that role last year for the Orioles. The Orioles know that Tejada is a steady defender who does little with the bat, but isn’t that the definition of utility infielder?
Sardinas never made it to the major leagues last year after being selected off waivers by the Orioles in late May. However, he has over 170 games of major league experience, with the majority at shortstop. Traditionally, you want a utility player who can play SS, but with Manny Machado, Tim Beckham and Jonathan Schoop all having that ability (somewhat), it may not be as big of a need.
Salcedo spent last year with Double-A Bowie and hit .260 while playing the majority (106) games at shortstop. So, he fits the bill. He also may have a little more offense than Sardinas.
The Orioles and Buck Showalter have sung Salcedo’s praises, but one has to think it will be tough for him to beat out a veteran and two players with plenty of time in the major leagues.