As the 2022 season ended, Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias declared that the team was “officially in the fight in the American League East.” Elias reiterated that sentiment Friday on 105.7 The Fan, adding that “the goal is to make the playoffs this year.”
The question, though, is if the roster he’s built is able to stack up against the other AL East clubs across a 162-game season. There won’t be a definitive answer for at least several months, but a look at the Orioles’ current 40-man roster shows that versatility will be a cornerstone of the team.
The roster — with several pitchers who have experience as both starters and relievers, infielders who can play multiple spots and catchers who could be asked to play first base — gives the team plenty of maneuverability. But that same pliability could also create some challenging decisions for the club in late March when the major league roster must be set.
Of course, the offseason isn’t over yet. With spring training about three weeks away, Elias still has time to make changes to the 40-man roster — and potentially boost the team’s projected payroll, which ranks 29th according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. He said Friday that he’s still looking for ways to add to the roster through free agency and trades.
However, significant alterations to the 40-man roster at this stage in the offseason are unlikely, unless Elias is able to strike a deal on the trade market. The free agent market has mostly been pillaged, as each of the top 32 players on MLB Trade Rumors’ offseason rankings have found a home.
As it stands now, the 40-man roster is one with several current or former top prospects, a few seasoned veterans and plenty of flexibility.
Mike Baumann, Kyle Bradish, Kyle Gibson, DL Hall, Seth Johnson, Dean Kremer, John Means, Grayson Rodriguez, Drew Rom, Austin Voth, Spenser Watkins, Tyler Wells, Bruce Zimmermann
This group could give the club the ability throughout the season to both manage workloads and provide depth in the bullpen. Elias said the innings limits on Rodriguez, Hall and Means — the latter of whom is recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery and is expected back around midseason — will not be “hard and fast.” Nevertheless, Rodriguez and Hall have never thrown more than 103 innings in a season, while Means threw just eight innings last year before being shut down.
Gibson, a 10-year veteran, is the most senior member of the rotation and the highest-paid player on the team. The $10 million deal for Gibson, who posted a 5.05 ERA with the Philadelphia Phillies last season but had better underlying metrics, is the largest guarantee Elias has handed out during his five offseasons as general manager.
Hall, Voth, Watkins and Baumann all have varying levels of experience coming out of the bullpen, and a couple of them could be long relief options.
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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports