The 40 Man Roster is Now Full.
Let’s see how it really breaks down and what moves would be available for openings:
Pedro Araujo (Rule 5)
Nestor Cortes Jr. (Rule 5)
Jose Mesa (Rule 5)
Mike Wright Jr.
Now, that is one impressive…Ok, it’s a list. With the roster pushed to the limit now, this is where the most cuts would come in. Due to the roster being full, Britton can be placed on the 60 day DL, which clears up space. This will be done at the end of the spring though. If someone is signed and needs a 40 spot, either a Rule 5 guy (Araujo, most likely) can be sent back to clear up a spot. In the end, Cortes or Mesa may also be sent back (or both), but those two have a higher shot of sticking than Araujo right now. Michael Kelly, a late free agent signing, can also be outrighted without much thought if someone better comes along. Mike Wright is also on the bubble due to his lack of options, but I think the Orioles will give him every opportunity to earn a spot on the 25 unless he really tanks. Same goes for Gabriel Ynoa. Miguel Castro is also out of options, but the Orioles will hang onto him unless he REALLY implodes.
So in the end, Araujo and Kelly would likely be one of the first 2 gone if they need a spot, with Wright or Ynoa not too far behind if things don’t go well. Outside chance of Chris Lee going too, but he would really have to do something bad.
Well, instead of getting someone on a minor league deal with an MLB invite, the Orioles decide they need 4 on the 40. Joseph isn’t going anywhere, Sisco, Wynns, and Susac will battle for the backup spot. The Orioles are enamored with Sisco’s bat but have been open about defensive concerns, which was the main reason for Wynns to get the 40 spot before the Rule 5 pick. Susac is a former #1 prospect in the Giants organization with a hundred games in the Majors. Not a great bat, decent defense. Susac might be the odd man out if he doesn’t blow Sisco and Wynns away in camp as far as earning the backup spot. If he struggles, might be one of the first DFA prospects. Might also be set up for a trade involving Sisco or Wynns (please…no….)
Vielma is the newest addition to that list, but has a lot of competition. 4 other utility players are being brought in as non-roster invites, along with the Orioles still open about looking for someone. If a better target comes up, he could be swapped out. If he struggles and Tejada or one of the other NRI’s shine, he could be swapped out. Beckham isn’t going anywhere, nor is Davis. Machado has had his name thrown out more times that Earl Weaver, but he is still here barring something big. Schoop is still here and doesn’t look like he will be moved unless a team gives up their entire 2018 draft spots.
Mark Trumbo (listed as DH, but…)
Jones isn’t going anywhere. Neither is Hays or Mancini. Trumbo is only moving if they trade him. Santander is a Rule 5 and only has 44 (or 46) days needed to be a permanent member of the organization. Giving him back now wouldn’t make sense (which is why I can see it happening.) Rickard has options, so that might save him from DFA land. Brugman also has options, but the Orioles are still looking for a left-handed, outfield bat. Brugman is the odd man out right now, with Rickard the closest behind him.
In the end, the Orioles do have a few contenders for DFA land (barring trades), the main ones being Michael Kelly, Jaycob Brugman, Engelb Vielma, and Andrew Susac. Second tier ones would be Joey Rickard, Mike Wright, Gabriel Ynoa, and giving back Pedro Araujo. “Not likely” moves are Chris Lee, Anthony Santander being sent back, Stefan Crichton or Jimmy Yacabonis being DFA’ed or a trade. The last one is putting Zach Britton on the 60 day DL.
That right there would clear up 9 spots, if they have corresponding moves for tier 1 and tier 2 moves, along with Britton. Unless something changes, you are looking at at least 1, possibly 2, of your “3, 4, 5” starters coming from the list above. The two big battles are at catcher and for the utility role right now.