As spring training wears down and with opening day less than a week away, the Orioles have begun to whittle down their roster with a couple of surprising moves.
It was not a surprise when the Orioles added Matt Harvey to the roster, but it was a bit of surprise when Wade LeBlanc choose to opt out, only to be resigned by the Orioles (for 100K less) the next day.
Shortly thereafter, the Orioles optioned LHP Keegan Akin, who was widely thought of having to pitch himself out of the rotation coming into the spring. Not only did Akin reportedly come into camp heavier than usual, even by his standards, but he then was unable to command his pitches very often this spring.
Today though they may have made the biggest surprise when they cut 2B Yolmer Sanchez who they had claimed off of waivers from the Giants last Fall and signed to a $1 million contract. Sanchez was unimpressive this spring, particularly with the bat where he hit .190 with no extra base hits.
Sanchez’s departure could mean more moves are coming or that Ramon Urias or Pat Valaika now have the inside track at the position.
The Orioles also announced acquiring Adam Pluko for “cash considerations.” from Cleveland. Pluko is out of options and was not going to make the Indians staff so the Orioles may want to take a look. Plutko has mostly been a starter with Cleveland until he spent some time in the bullpen last year. He’s put up a 5.05 ERA in 217.1 IP in his major league career spanning three seasons and a cup of coffee.
It’s not clear what if any role Plutko will have with the Orioles, but the Orioles could try to move him through waivers themselves then assign him to AAA if he makes it through where he would be starting or long relief pitching depth. They also may take a look at him in a pure relief role where he had a little success last year.
With Pedro Severino and Chance Sisco struggling this spring, don’t be surprised if a move for a catcher occurs.
Regardless, it will not be a surprise if this flurry of moves continues over the next week.