Making sense of the roster
With the O’s cuts this morning there are 29 players still in contention. Top pitching prospect Zach Britton and infielder Brendan Harris are expected to both be optioned to Minor League camp which leaves the roster at 27.
Starter Justin Duchscherer starting the season on the disabled list makes it 26. So who is the last man out?
There are several different scenarios but it basically involves four guys fighting for three spots in pitchers Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen, infielder Robert Andino and catcher Craig Tatum.
In my roster predictions from last night, I have Tillman and Bergesen making the team, with Bergesen being put in the bullpen until the team needs a fifth starter on April 10. There’s also a scenario where Bergesen –who will throw a few innings Wednesday — starts Sunday’s game, which would put Tillman in Triple-A. The O’s won’t put Tillman in the ‘pen.
Should the team opt to go with just Matt Wieters and Jake Fox as the catchers, Tatum would be sent to Triple-A. he has an option remaining and while the Orioles aren’t big on Fox behind the plate it would be a temporary solution to start the season. Andino, who is out of options, could be traded if he doesn’t make the team since the belief is the versatile infielder would be claimed on waivers.
The Orioles don’t want to lose Andino given that he’s a young player and he can play multiple positions.
The final move could come down to Wednesday, which is when Bergesen throws. But if I had to handicap things, I say it comes down to Tillman and Tatum, with the edge going to Tillman. Keep in mind this is only the Opening Day roster, and the team will have a wealth of roster moves to make in the first few weeks.