Orioles roster close to completion

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles will host the Mets this afternoon and bolt Sarasota as if their hair is on fire.

They have commitments on Tuesday, including a workout at Camden Yards followed by a train to New York. Final roster cuts could come this morning.

The catching picture cleared up last night with Jesús Sucre and Pedro Severino avoided the chopping block. Only another waiver claim can break up the duo.

I never thought it made sense to bump Sucre for Severino - one plus-defender for another who is limited offensively. You keep both of them and continue Chance Sisco’s education in the minors, with assurances that he’s back up if playing at a high level at the plate and, most important, behind it. Or you try to sneak Severino through waivers, which the Nationals failed to do, and keep Sisco’s left-handed bat.

The Orioles did it with infielder Luis Sardiñas. Claimed him from the Padres in May 2017, put him on waivers and outrighted him.

I seem to recall former executive Dan Duquette saying very little about Sardiñas after claiming him, and former manager Buck Showalter hinted that the infielder might not be around for long, as if it weren’t necessary to hunt for his bio.

Anyway, Sisco is headed back to the minors despite his outstanding statistics and improvements defensively.

Wright post throw orange.jpgWhether the Orioles carry 12 or 13 pitchers, three reserves or four, might be revealed. It’s possible for them to have nine relievers on opening day because a fifth starter isn’t needed until April 3.

Mike Wright, for example, could work in relief and then jump into the rotation later. Or the Orioles could use an “opener.”

The opening day roster doesn’t need to be set until noon Thursday. The Orioles could leave us hanging a little while longer.

Mock rosters have been destroyed in recent days. Sisco won’t be catching. Mark Trumbo won’t be the designated hitter until he comes off the injured list. Tanner Scott, Cody Carroll and Evan Phillips won’t be in the bullpen. Alcides Escobar won’t be a utility infielder. Eric Young Jr. won’t be an extra outfielder. Austin Hays won’t be starting in right.

Jace Peterson wasn’t expected to break camp with the team, but now it’s official.

Trumbo’s elimination makes it easier for the Orioles to carry Renato Núñez and Rio Ruiz. They were in direct third base competition when camp opened.

An extra outfielder can make the roster because manager Brandon Hyde has the freedom to put Trey Mancini at first base or designated hitter, depending on where Chris Davis plays. Not on an everyday basis, of course, but depending on matchups and whims.

Dwight Smith Jr. is still in camp. And don’t forget that optioned outfielders can return if replacing an injured player.

The Orioles are liable to make a waiver claim before opening day, so don’t get too comfortable with the 28 who remain in camp.

Thirteen pitchers are left:

Pedro Araujo
Dylan Bundy
Andrew Cashner
Miguel Castro
Alex Cobb
Mychal Givens
David Hess
Nate Karns
Mike Wright
Jimmy Yacabonis
Richard Bleier
Paul Fry
John Means

Cobb could go on the injured list and miss his first career opening day start, allowing someone on the bubble to head north. This is where it gets complicated.

Rogers was more likely to start in the minors than sit in the Orioles’ bullpen. Cobb’s injury could impact Yacabonis if he is, indeed, one of the bubble guys.

Means figured to be optioned, but he’s still in the mix, with Cobb’s situation creating so many options and the possibility of 13 pitchers staying on the roster.

The Orioles must decide whether it’s worth keeping Araujo until his Rule 5 status expires in April. Seems like the logical move, but again, executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias has no attachment to Araujo and is forming his own opinion.

For now, it appears that Araujo stays.

Three catchers remain in camp:

Pedro Severino
Jesús Sucre
Austin Wynns

Wynns is going on the injured list.

There are seven infielders:

Hanser Alberto
Chris Davis
Drew Jackson
Richie Martin
Renato Núñez
Rio Ruiz
Jonathan Villar

Alberto is out of options and his chances decrease because the Orioles are carrying both Rule 5 picks and considering going north with Núñez and Ruiz - if Núñez avoids the IL, which he probably can do after homering again yesterday in Clearwater.

There are five outfielders:

Trey Mancini
Cedric Mullins
Joey Rickard
Dwight Smith Jr.
Mark Trumbo

Trumbo goes on the IL, which enhances Smith’s chances but doesn’t make him a lock.

The Orioles could carry as many as eight new players in Severino, Sucre, Karns, Martin, Jackson, Ruiz, Alberto and Smith. They’d need a spot on the 40-man for Sucre and could place Trumbo on the 60-day IL.

My head is spinning like it’s a cycle on the hotel washing machine, but Trumbo and Wynns to the IL brings the camp roster down to 26 players. Cobb joining them gets the Orioles to 25. Otherwise, the choice might come down to Means, Yacabonis and Alberto for the final two spots. And Smith continues to linger.

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