Take another look at the 40-man roster and count how many players were added from outside the organization after Robert Andino’s walk-off single beat the Red Sox on Sept. 28. I’m not including pitcher Oliver Drake, who was protected in the Rule 5 draft:
I came up with 13, which is a pretty significant turnover. And it’s not surprising. Executive vice president Dan Duquette figured to do some major construction after he was hired - no sense standing pat after a 14th straight losing season - and manager Buck Showalter often cringed when he looked at the names on the board in his office. He was less than enthralled with the roster.
You know there have been a lot of changes when third baseman Josh Bell enters the debate over which player will be removed to make room for the next addition. Wasn’t he considered one of the organization’s top prospects following the George Sherrill trade? Now he’s on the bubble.
Bell survived yesterday, with the Orioles choosing to designate outfielder Matt Angle for assignment. Here’s the reasoning: Plenty of people in the organization prefer Angle if given the choice between the two players, but he’s also viewed as a fifth or sixth outfielder. And no teams inquired about him over the winter, so a trade wasn’t going to happen.
Bell, however, has some trade value and could be moved if he has a good spring or gets off to a hot start at Triple-A Norfolk. And maybe - just maybe - he figures it out and actually ends up at third base. May as well hold onto him.
He’ll stay on the bubble, but it also looks like he’ll stay in the organization.
I spoke with someone yesterday who sounded pretty excited about the Norfolk rotation. His list of candidates included Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Chris Tillman, Jason Berken and Tommy Hunter. He excluded Brad Bergesen, but I’m sure it was an oversight.
Hunter never seems to get mentioned, but his name came up yesterday. I think he’s almost a lock to be on the 25-man roster on opening day, but it’s always possible that he pitches his way off it. Jobs aren’t being handed to many people.
OK, I’m heading to Hunt Valley for the “Wall to Wall Baseball” show with Tom Davis that airs 11 a.m.-noon on MASN. I’m a little rusty on the television side. I’ll probably spend half my time looking into the wrong camera.