Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Clearer Look

We're about 25 days away from Opening Day and the team is starting to sort itself out. The team has made a few decisions about their roster and let's take a look at what we know so far.

Starting Rotation

Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehara are locks for the first 2 spots. Matt Albers is out of consideration now, since the team wants him to start as a reliever to be safe with his arm. Trembley hinted that Brian Bass doesn't really have the stamina to be a starter. H Rich Hill still hasn't made an appearance in Spring Training, so his chances are still good, but not as good as before. The battle for the last 3 spots really comes down to these 9 players:

1. Rich Hill - still not healthy
2. Mark Hendrickson - the O's prefer him in the bullpen
3. Brad Bergesen
4. Adam Eaton - released by the Phillies
5. Radhames Liz
6. Chris Waters - long shot
7. Hayden Penn
8. David Pauley
9. Danys Baez - he's actually done pretty well


Chris Ray is pitching very well and will have a real shot at the closer role, though Trembley said Sherrill will definitely begin the season as the closer. The O's are still deciding between 12 pitchers and 13. The only other players with spots reserved were Jim Johnson and Dennis Sarfate, but Trembley has decided that Albers will also be on the team. Hendrickson would too if he doesn't make the rotation. Danys Baez and Jamie Walker have spots unless they pitch awfully, which they haven't so far. There are really only 0-2 spots, depending on how the rotation shapes up. Here are the competitors:

1. Wilfrido Perez - in 5 games, he has a 0.00 ERA and 0.23 WHIP, including 2 saves
2. Jim Miller
3. Bob McCrory
4. Brian Bass
5. Kam Mickolio


Matt Wieters is making a strong case, he's hitting .444 and slugging .778, but that may have no impact on whether he makes the team. The 6 players competing for the backup catcher spot behind Gregg Zaun are 6 for 42. Aubrey Huff, Brian Roberts, Melvin Mora, and Cesar Izturis will round out the infield and Ty Wigginton will have a reserve role. The O's are really looking for a backup catcher and a utility player who can play shortstop. That leaves 7 players with a real chance at 2 spots:

1. Guillermo Quiroz - last year's backup catcher
2. Chad Moeller - veteran experience
3. Robby Hammock - best hitting catcher of the three, worst fielding
4. Chris Gomez - 1 for 15 this spring
5. Donnie Murphy
6. Scott Moore - best upside, learning to play shortstop
7. Jolbert Cabrera


Nick Markakis and Adam Jones have the starting spots secure. Ryan Freel and Felix Pie will almost certainly split left field. There probably isn't room for anyone else, but these 2 players still have an outside shot and are worth mentioning, especially since Freel and Pie have played poorly this spring:

1. Lou Montanez - won the Triple Crown last year in AA
2. Nolan Reimold - rookie is ready for the majors

In all that is 23 players fighting for 5 spots. Let the battle continue.

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