There were no big surprises with the Orioles first round cuts as none of the players cut were expected to make the team. The closest thing to a surprise was outfielder Dariel Alvarez being among the first cut only to finally accept the Orioles offer to convert him and his amazing arm to pitcher. Here’s a look at each player cut and whether they could be back sometime this year in Baltimore.
Dariel Alvarez (OF) – The writing was on the wall during last year’s Instructional League when the Orioles asked him to convert to pitcher. Alvarez refused, but after a spring in which he went 0-for-11, received less plate appearances than other outfielders, and then was the among the first two players cut, the message was received. Alvarez will undergo the conversion and the hope is will be ready to compete at some point this season. Alvarez reportedly can throw in the upper 90s from the mound, but hasn’t pitched professionally since he was 20-years old in Cuba.
Richard Rodriguez (RHP) – The 27-year old right hander was a non-roster invitee as a reward for putting up a great 2016 campaign at Norfolk. He got into three games allowing three runs, two earned on four hits and walk (6.75 ERA) while striking out two. The Orioles are deep in right-handed relievers and the fact he was shipped out so quickly doesn’t bode well for his chances of seeing the big leagues this year. Saying that, never say never. He’ll pitch for Norfolk.
Parker Bridwell (RHP) – A depth right-handed reliever on the 40-man roster, Bridwell was unimpressive this spring getting into four games while allowing three runs on five hits and walk over four innings of work. As long as he stays on the 40-man roster he has a decent shot of being called up this season if he’s pitching well and there’s a need. He should be in the Norfolk bullpen.
Yermin Mercedes (C) – Basically was in camp to catch pitchers after Austin Wynns wasn’t ready due to an ankle injury. Known more for his bat than defense, the 24-year old did get an RBI single in one of his two at bats this spring. He will be assigned to Frederick (A+) this season and could make the transition to first base or RF. He’ll need to force his way to Bowie and put up some numbers there this season to get onto the prospect seen at his age.
Jed Bradley (LHP) – A former first round pick who the Orioles plucked off waivers then successfully passed through waivers this offseason. Unfortunately, there’s a reason he was able to get through waivers and that’s because his velocity has fallen into the mid-80s. Effective against lefties, the Orioles may try to convert him to a reliever and see if that gives his stuff a jump once again. With a crowded Norfolk, Bradley could end up in Bowie (AA).
Jason Garcia (RHP) – Still struggling to fulfill the promise that Dan Duquette saw when he choose him and kept him all season as a Rule five pick in 2015. Garcia allowed five runs on six hits and five walks while striking out three in just five and two-third innings this spring. Still on the 40-man roster, Garcia will compete for a crowded AAA rotation spot but his hold on a 40-man roster spot could be tenuous if he doesn’t have a good year this year.