ST. PETERSBURG, Fla - The Orioles aren’t done tweaking their 25-man roster before opening day.
According to multiple sources, the Orioles will purchase catcher Ryan Lavarnway’s contract on Monday. He accompanied the team to St. Petersburg despite being reassigned earlier today.
The corresponding roster move could involve reliever Ryan Webb, a surprise addition to what’s become a 14-man pitching staff.
Webb could go on the disabled list - he was sidelined this spring with a sore knee - but the Orioles continue to explore trade options. They had talks with the Braves, according to sources, but didn’t reach agreement on a deal.
The Orioles currently have catchers Caleb Joseph and Steve Clevenger on their roster. Clevenger is expected to be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday after first baseman Chris Davis comes off the restricted list. The Orioles also are exploring trade possibilities involving Clevenger, who would be greeted by a catching crowd at Norfolk that includes J.P. Arencibia, Brian Ward and Audry Perez.
Lavarnway, signed to a minor league deal, batted .167/.211/.222 with two doubles and two RBIs in 17 games. He was 3-for-11 throwing out runners and committed one error. However, the Orioles like how he calls a game and think he can improve his percentage on attempted steals - he’s 10-for-63 in the majors - with the starters being quicker to home plate.
Webb will be paid $2.7 million this season whether he’s on the roster or freed up to sign with another club. He allowed five runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings this spring, with two walks and six strikeouts.
Webb didn’t pitch for two weeks after hurting his left knee while playing catch.
The Orioles’ submitted roster today included 14 pitchers, but it’s expected to be reduced to 13 on Monday. And Davis’ return on Tuesday will force another adjustment.
In other words, not much has changed with the Orioles. The roster is always flexible, and it’s a method that’s been working for them.