Who’s on the bench?

It’s always tricky to project a major league roster in early November. Too many players could be signed or non-tendered. The list can become outdated in the blink of an eye.

However, there isn’t much else to write about in early November, so why not? Perhaps the Red Sox name Rick Peterson as their pitching coach. The Orioles could claim another player off waivers. I won’t plan my entire day around it.

I’m focusing on the bench this morning. Assuming manager Buck Showalter carries four reserves, he’ll need a backup catcher, utility infielder, extra outfielder and a fourth player who could fill any role.

The Orioles were pleased with Taylor Teagarden’s work behind the plate and the clutch hits he delivered. He’s arbitration-eligible and could be non-tendered and re-signed.

If he leaves, the Orioles will find another backup. They always do. Matt Wieters isn’t catching 162 regular-season games.

Nolan Reimold could be the starting left fielder or part of a platoon. Or he could be hurt. It’s anybody’s guess.

The position is one area that must be addressed, whether it’s by re-signing Nate McLouth, acquiring someone from outside the organization or handing the job to Reimold and keeping fingers crossed. My assumption is that Xavier Avery and LJ Hoes will start the year at Triple-A Norfolk. Again, it’s a guess.

Wilson Betemit has another year and a $3.2 million vesting option remaining on his contract. He figures to get a lot of bench time if Mark Reynolds remains the first baseman and Chris Davis becomes the regular designated hitter. He could platoon in the DH spot if Davis replaces Reynolds, facing right-handers because of his struggles from the other side of the plate.

There’s always the possibility that Betemit is traded, but he’s owed $1.75 million next season, and his poor splits and defense have hurt his value.

It would be easier to determine the utility infielder if we knew who was starting at second base. We also need to know whether Robert Andino, a non-tender candidate, is returning in 2012. He could finally assume the super-utility role that Showalter has long envisioned for him.

It also could be Alexi Casilla if he’s not the starting second baseman. Ryan Flaherty will try to win a job - any job - and avoid a trip to Norfolk. And minor league free agents will be invited to spring training and given the chance to break camp with the team.

Feel free to discuss. And don’t forget to vote. I’m heading over to Piney Ridge Elementary School in Carroll County.

blog comments powered by Disqus