Your 2014 Orioles (Best Guess)

Posted Wednesday March 26, 2014 at 8:59:44 pm in Real Sports

With the news that Nolan Reimold will start the 2014 season on the DL, the Orioles 25 man roster is nearly complete. Here is my best guess at what the final roster will be come Opening Day on Monday.

I was thinking that Reimold might start the season on the DL. And with his late scratch from the lineup today against the Rays, it was pretty much cemented. Nolan is unable to play the OF due to the inability to fully use his neck. Not a good sign. He'll start the season on the 15 day disabled list.

Michael Almanzar is the Rule V pickup from the Red Sox. He was going to be stashed on the bench a la Ryan Flaherty in 2012 and TJ McFarland in 2013 (both Rule V picks). There is inflammation/swelling in his left knee. By all accounts he'll start the season on the DL. Remember, he's a Rule V pick...and he MUST be active at least 90 days on the claiming team's roster in order to be eligible to be optioned the following season. If not, then he will have to spend 90 days the following season. This is to prevent teams from creating phantom injuries to retain those Rule V draft picks.

That said, we're now down to the Zach Britton vs. TJ McFarland argument. With Brian Matusz slated to remain in the LOOGY role, it's pretty evident with Britton's strong spring that he'll take the LHP long/middle relief spot from McFarland. McFarland will most likely start the season in the minors. McFarland being optioned opens up a spot for Evan Meek. I fully expect him to get that last bullpen spot.

Speaking about bullpen spots, I think with guys like Josh Stinson, Zach Britton, and Brian Matusz, Buck should have some middle/long relief options that will prevent him from having to go with a 13 man pitching staff.

And you know what that means?

4 man bench!

Yes, the 4 man bench. And at least *1* spot is already taken by Pig Town's own Steve Clevenger. He'll shore up the backup catcher spot. Finally a backup catcher that knows how to use a bat (sorry, Mr. Teagarden).

This leaves 3 spots. With the newest acquisition of Steve Lombardozzi (apparently the O's want a monopoly of Steve's) and the recent news that Alex Gonzalez would have made the roster...I feel that Lombardozzi will take the 2B starting position with Flaherty manning 3B until Machado is ready. Which means Flaherty will take the 2B spot...and Lombardozzi will most likely end up in the utility infielder position.

Speaking of utility infielders, I feel that Jemile Weeks will end up winning a spot on the bench as the backup infielder. With Flaherty's ability to play SS, 1B, 2B, and 3B, and Lombardozzi's ability to play 3B, 2B, and even some OF...it means the team doesn't have to keep a bonafide utility infielder (one that can play 3B, SS, 2B). Instead, Weeks will act as a pinch run option late in games...as well as a 2B option at times.

With Weeks and Clevenger securing 2 of the 4 bench spots, it begs the question: who wins the other 2?

With Reimold on the DL (as well as Almanzar most likely), I feel that both Steve Pearce and Delmon Young will take the last 2 spots. Why?

Steve Pearce is versatile. He's hit well in a backup capacity. He can backup 1B, OF, and even C in a pinch. And he hits lefties and even righties well. Plus, there's that Orioles monopoly on Steve's I spoke about.

As for Young? His poor attitude aside (I feel Buck will keep him under control), he hits lefties very well and can play a somewhat adequate (okay, below average) OF. I think Young will end up DH'ing against lefties with Cruz starting in LF against lefties. Lough will only play LF and hit against righties.

All of that blabber aside, here's my 25 man roster for Opening Day:

Starting 9 (in no particular order)

Starting Rotation

Bench

  • Steve Clevenger (C)
  • Jemile Weeks (2B, PR)
  • Steve Pearce (1B, OF, C)
  • Delmon Young (DH, OF)

Bullpen

And you're probably wondering...where is Schoop? In AAA to start the season. For both seasoning and economic reasons. 

There you have it. Your 2014 Opening Day Orioles (my best guess).

Let's Go O's!

The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer’s view