Questions about Beckham, Joseph, Villar, pitching and 40-man

The Orioles have moved back into the slow lane while navigating through the Thanksgiving holiday.

They hired Sig Mejdal as an assistant to executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias, which shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. They selected pitcher Dillon Tate’s contract from Double-A Bowie, which shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone.

They signed four players to minor league contracts, including infielder Jace Peterson, which might have surprised some people. I knew that the Orioles wanted to bring back Peterson after he elected free agency, but another team could have made him a better offer.

I had no idea that they were interested in infielders Chris Bostick and Zachary Vincej and pitcher Jeffeson Medina.

My knowledge of that trio could balance on the head of a pin.

The deadline for tendering contracts to arbitration-eligible players arrives on Friday and we can circle back to whether the Orioles allow Tim Beckham and Caleb Joseph to become free agents. The former is a stronger possibility with MLBTradeRumors.com projecting that he’s going to make $4.3 million next season.

Question 1:
Would you keep Beckham, in whatever role, or non-tender him?

Question 2:
Would you keep Joseph, projected to make $1.7 million, or non-tender him?

Villar-Points-Skyward-White-Sidebar.jpgThe Orioles will hold onto infielder Jonathan Villar, projected to make $4.4 million, but they have to decide on a position for him. Most of his experience has come at shortstop, but the Orioles used him primarily at second base, where he made 36 starts in 54 games after the trade.

Question 3:
Would you start Villar at second base or shortstop next season?

Dylan Bundy is projected to make $3 million and Mychal Givens $2 million, and both will be tendered contracts. Depending on how everything plays out, we could be talking about the opening day starter and closer, respectively.

Elias needs to figure out whether he wants to hold onto Bundy, Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner or attempt to move one or more at the Winter Meetings and beyond. Punching more holes in the rotation is a risky game.

Question 4:
Which in-house candidates would you plug into the back end of the rotation if keeping Bundy, Cobb and Cashner - and if the season started today?

The 40-man roster is full again, but a non-tender or two would allow the Orioles to participate in the Rule 5 draft. And you can be certain that they’re all-in again.

They also could designate someone for assignment, which I anticipate happening.

Pitchers
Pedro Araujo
Richard Bleier
Dylan Bundy
Cody Carroll
Andrew Cashner
Miguel Castro
Alex Cobb
Paul Fry
Mychal Givens
Donnie Hart
Hunter Harvey
David Hess
Branden Kline
John Means
Ryan Meisinger
Luis Ortiz
Evan Phillips
Yefry Ramírez
Josh Rogers
Tanner Scott
Dillon Tate
Mike Wright Jr.
Jimmy Yacabonis

Catchers
Caleb Joseph
Chance Sisco
Andrew Susac
Austin Wynns

Infielders
Tim Beckham
Chris Davis
Renato Núñez
Breyvic Valera
Jonathan Villar
Steve Wilkerson

Outfielders
Austin Hays
Trey Mancini
Cedric Mullins
Joey Rickard
Anthony Santander
DJ Stewart
Mark Trumbo

Infielder Engelb Vielma was removed this week to create room for Tate. I figured that Vielma would become a casualty later in the winter. I didn’t think he’d be one of the first to go.

I’m going to keep predicting that Susac is designated until it finally happens. If I’m wrong, and I don’t have a rooting interest here, I’ll send him a hand-written apology.

Susac went 3-for-26 in nine games with the Orioles and threw out two of the seven runners attempting to steal. A fractured wrist in late July at Triple-A Norfolk ended his season and the Orioles placed him on the restricted list a month later after he left the club and headed home. He was reinstated on Sept. 11.

Question 5:
How many players currently on the 40-man would you remove and why?



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