A few notes on impact of minor league options

The most recent Orioles transaction remains the outright of catcher Mark Kolozsvary to Triple-A Norfolk on Nov. 17, two days after they selected the contracts of pitchers Grayson Rodriguez, Drew Rom, Seth Johnson and Noah Denoyer and infielder Joey Ortiz to protect them in the Rule 5 draft. The 40-man roster remains frozen at 38 players, but probably not for much longer.

The Winter Meetings begin next week in San Diego, where the Orioles could land the starting pitcher or hitter that they’re targeting, if it doesn’t happen before their contingent boards its flights. At least one selection is anticipated in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which also will impact the 40-man.

A trade could be made that doesn’t touch it, with rival teams expressing interest in prospects who aren’t eligible for the Rule 5. Those talks are among the many happening behind the scenes.

Over the last few days, I’ve written about additional front office decisions that are pending and questions pertaining to a bullpen that could undergo some tweaking.

I've moved on to nuggets, and here are a couple worth tucking away:

Tyler Nevin is out of minor league options.
This could be significant, depending on Nevin’s status heading into camp.

Nevin is on the 40-man roster. He played in the Dominican Winter League for the first time, appearing in seven games and going 4-for-22 with a triple, four RBIs, three walks and six strikeouts for Aguilas Cibaenas.

The minor league portion of Nevin’s season was a hit. He appeared in 44 games with Triple-A Norfolk and slashed .291/.382/.479 with eight doubles, a triple, seven home runs, 36 RBIs – eight coming on April 15 to tie the franchise record -21 walks and 36 strikeouts. He had three stints with the Orioles, appeared in 58 games, and slashed .198/.299/.261 with four doubles, two home runs, 16 RBIs, 20 walks and 46 strikeouts.

Nevin was the first Orioles rookie to homer, delivering a solo shot May 10 in St. Louis. But he isn’t any closer to becoming an established major leaguer, and the Orioles appear set at the infield and outfield corners.

The possibility of Gunnar Henderson playing third base further complicates Nevin’s efforts to make the club. And the Orioles are interested in acquiring a left-handed hitting first baseman and corner outfielder who also can serve as designated hitter.

The lack of a minor league option also qualifies as a complication.

Most of the in-house rotation candidates have minor league options.
This is the opposite of the Nevin situation.

John Means has three options, but it’s insignificant. He won’t be on the opening day roster while working toward a return from Tommy John surgery, and he isn’t getting sent down.

Tyler Wells also has three options, Kyle Bradish and Bruce Zimmermann have two, and Dean Kremer, Spenser Watkins and Mike Baumann have one.  

Rodriguez is expected to break camp in the rotation, and he has three options. DL Hall has two.

Exactly the kind of flexibility that the Orioles desire, especially when it’s expected to get crowded with at least one addition possible via trade or free agency.

Austin Voth is the only candidate who’s out of options, and it’s important to remember since he’s also viewed as a possibility for the bullpen. He registered a 3.04 ERA and 1.229 WHIP in 22 games (17 starts) with the Orioles, after posting a 10.13 ERA and 2.143 WHIP in 19 relief appearances with the Nationals.

The Orioles tendered Voth a contract for 2023 and they can envision using him in multiple roles. They just can't send him to the minors without first passing him through waivers.

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