Projecting the Orioles OD roster

The Orioles will make cuts on Monday and they should be at or very close to their 25-man roster when those are through.

Here’s my projections at where it’s headed with blurbs on why.  Again,  nothing is set in stone, but things are starting to take shape and should be done well before Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline.

“We are just trying to stay as flexible as we can,”  president of baseball of operations Andy MacPhail said of the O’s Opening Day roster.  “We know what the options are, how it might look with three or so variations maybe.”

“We spend way to much time and generally what this Opening Day roster is, is as few irrevocable decisions as possible,” MacPhail added. “Then as events unfold, you start to make whatever adjustments you have and that’s why you want to keep the inventory as large as you can. Because you know you are going to go down and pick the guy that’s not necessarily had the best spring here but if you’re making a move in May it’s going to be about who had the best month in Norfolk.”

Here’s my best go at what April 1′s roster will be. Keep in mind this is ONLY for the first two weeks or so,  with a lot of potential moves after that.

BULLPEN
KEVIN GREGG
KOJI UEHARA
MICHAEL GONZALEZ
JIM JOHNSON
JEREMY ACCARDO
JOSH RUPE
JASON BERKEN

The only LHP here is Gonzalez, but keep in mind Jim Johnson and Josh Rupe have both shown the ability to get out lefties, as has Jason Berken. Gonzalez will probably be the only lefty in ‘pen to start, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Clay Rapada comes up relatively soon.

POSITION PLAYERS
DERREK LEE
BRIAN ROBERTS
J.J. HARDY
MATT WIETERS
MARK REYNOLDS
LUKE SCOTT
ADAM JONES
NICK MARKAKIS
VLADIMIR GUERRERO

*No shocker here.

BENCH PLAYERS
FELIX PIE
JAKE FOX
CESAR IZTURIS
ROBERT ANDINO

*Felix Pie is the only true CF backup and he also adds a lefty bat off the bench. He’s also shown signs of maturing this year.

*Jake Fox and Robert Andino are out of options so they will break camp. Catcher Craig Tatum would start at Triple-A Norfolk in this scenario, but only for a few weeks. The team likes his catching ability and it will be interesting to see if Fox can keep up his torrid spring at the plate.

The Orioles can go for two weeks without a true backup catcher given their early off days, but they can’t go much longer than that.

*Nolan Reimold would also start the season at Triple-A. He’s impressed but Pie can backup in CF and adds a lefty bat. Reimold will be able to get regular at-bats in Triple-A and he’s another guy who would be among the first to get the call to Baltimore.

STARTERS
JEREMY GUTHRIE
BRIAN MATUSZ
JAKE ARRIETA
BRAD BERGESEN
CHRIS TILLMAN

*Why do I have 5 starters breaking camp when the team only needs 4 until April 10? A couple different reasons. One, the Orioles starters have been far from impressive this spring so the team would need to account for innings.  That’s why it makes sense to potentially take Brad Bergesen AND Chris Tillman –at least for the first two weeks — rather than another one-inning reliever or a position player.  At least until the rotation shakes out the first two weeks.

Roberts and Lee have both been progressing well and the biggest question mark this spring has been the starting rotation. It would make sense to keep some depth there.

What could change very soon

*Zach Britton will be up as early as April 21, and Justin Duchscherer could be ready then as well.

That gives the Orioles a potential rotation of Guthrie, Matusz, Arrieta, Britton and Duchscherer by the end of April. Tillman and Bergesen could be in there as well, or Bergesen could be in the bullpen.

Lefty specialist Clay Rapada is also a guy who could get a call to Baltimore soon, although that will largely be at the expense of another reliever and will depend on how the ‘pen works out.

So, who goes?

Working under this projection Monday’s cuts would likely be:  David Riske, Ryan Drese, Rick VandenHurk, Nick Green, Brendan Harris,  Zach Britton, Craig Tatum, Randy Winn, Clay Rapada and Nolan Reimold.

*Duchscherer will start the season on the DL.

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