A few thoughts on Teheran and Wong acquisitions

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles are back home this afternoon to play the Pirates, with baseball’s No. 3 prospect, Paul Skenes, starting opposite Corbin Burnes.

Yes, everyone is primed for the expected Skenes-Jackson Holliday matchup - the first-overall picks in the last two drafts going head-to-head. A potential sneak peek of the Spring Breakout game next month in Bradenton that features top prospects from both organizations.  

Or, as I call it, “a double header in Bradenton that I didn’t ask for,” but this isn’t about me.

Always keep in mind that it’s spring training. This is the time to overhype and to obsess.  

Holliday didn’t make the trip to Fort Myers yesterday. He’s rested and ready, and probably back at second base.

Connor Norby’s side soreness should come with a news ticker for how many times the media, me included, has approached his locker for updates. I was the first to arrive yesterday morning, almost startling him into another injury.

The Grapefruit League also is ripe for guessing and going out on limbs, which finally leads me to Julio Teheran.

Baseball-Reference.com and every Google search has his last name spelled “Teherán,” but the Major League Baseball roster omits the accent, as I’ve done because of it. I’m guessing that’s right because the Orioles didn’t use one in their press release and post.

But I digress …

My quick take on the Teheran signing to a minor league contract is that it shouldn’t impact the Opening Day rotation.

It might, of course, but it shouldn’t.

Teheran appears to be depth and insurance. A veteran who can start if he’s impressive in camp and something happens to Tyler Wells or Cole Irvin, like an injury or severe drop-off in effectiveness. Irvin looks great so far. Wells makes his first start Friday in North Port.

The Orioles want options if their plans blow up, which happened with Kyle Bradish’s elbow injury. John Means should be ready in April but won’t make the club out of spring training.

Teammates will be playing the Angels on March 28. Means is playing catchup because of his elbow soreness in October.

The Orioles have ample time to evaluate Teheran. Manager Brandon Hyde indicated yesterday that the right-hander could be ready to pitch in fewer than 10 days.

My quick take on Teheran also includes how he could assist in long relief with Wells and Irvin possibly removed from the bullpen, but perhaps executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias will shed more light on the move later this morning.

Bruce Zimmermann has the necessary credentials from the left side but lacks the major league track record of Teheran, a two-time All-Star who started six consecutive Opening Days for Atlanta.

Chayce McDermott, Cade Povich and Justin Armbruester will be starting with the Norfolk Tides. They aren’t going north after the Orioles break camp. But the organization loves their potential and wants to continue their development.

Teheran is far removed from his peak performances, but he’s on a low-risk deal, with the club committed to paying $2 million if he’s in the majors. Doesn’t hurt to take a look at him, and he can opt out if a better opportunity arises.

“I just think we’re adding depth,” Hyde said yesterday. “Like we talked about a lot, you can never have enough pitching. To bring in another guy who’s got a lot of major league experience, been a starter in this league for a long time, we’re going to take a look, and hopefully he can help us.”

Kolten Wong was the shocker yesterday because as far as I know, it hadn’t leaked to the media. It didn’t require any reporters to roll out of bed, curse a little and throw together a story for their site.

Wong used to be really good and maybe he can dip into his past. The small sample size with the Dodgers featured nine hits in 30 at-bats, including two home runs. And he’s a two-time Gold Glove winner at second base.

Elias has expressed interest in a left-handed hitting second baseman after Adam Frazier left via free agency. Holliday is a left-handed hitting middle infielder who’s getting extensive work at second base.

Holliday also is the fan favorite as the top prospect in baseball. Wanna see folks get riled? Send him down and keep Wong. But if the front office decides that Wong gives the Orioles a better chance to win those early games, similar to optioning Grayson Rodriguez last spring, that’s going to be the move.

Otherwise, Wong could be an insurance policy in Triple-A, where the Orioles also need to fill out a roster. Or, he exercises an opt-out that’s probably in his contract, as well.

“I think just adding another player that we’re very familiar with and has been a major league second baseman for a long time,” Hyde said. “We’re just continuing to add talented guys, and a veteran presence is important, also. We’ll see how Kolten fits.”

The infield remains a fascination. Whether Holliday makes the club three months past his 20th birthday. If Holliday or Wong fit with Ryan Mountcastle, Ryan O’Hearn, Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg, Ramón Urías and Jorge Mateo on a roster with 13 position players.

That’s two catchers, of course, but only four outfielders, which brings us back to whether Mateo or O'Hearn are satisfactory as left fielders at Camden Yards.

While we ponder that question, keep both eyes on Colton Cowser and how he's swinging the bat down here and also drawing praise for his outfield defense.


Just for fun, a look at PECOTA projections
Hilliard claimed on waivers to create spot on 40-m...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.masnsports.com/