Another sampling of spring storylines

The Orioles haven't made any announcements during the holiday break. Nothing about minor league deals or staff hires. Not a creature is stirring, not even a rumor to douse.

The ice pellets in yesterday's wintry mix had me yearning for the Florida sunshine that illuminates spring training workouts and afternoon exhibition games.

Warms the heart - and areas where you should apply sunscreen.

I've already written about eight camp storylines that should keep me busy, whether or not I'm able to keep my hotel reservation in Sarasota. There's the rotation behind John Means and Jordan Lyles, whether Adley Rutschman will get a fair shot at breaking camp with the team, whether Rougned Odor will avoid becoming Yolmer Sánchez, who's on the left side of the infield, how Yusniel Diaz will look in camp, whether Paul Fry rediscovers his command and confidence, whether there's a noticeable difference in Trey Mancini after a normal offseason and what role is bestowed upon Jorge López.

Here are two more:

Thumbnail image for Oriole-Park-at-Camden-Yards-Warehouse-Sidebar.jpgIs Tyler Wells on the team and the closer?
Sounds like a two-parter.

Wells lost his Rule 5 status. The Orioles can option him to Triple-A. But would they?

What if the Grapefruit League devours him, which no one is anticipating? Let me be clear on this point. Wells earned his bullpen role last summer. But what if?

Wells could be optioned. He could be used earlier in games. Manager Brandon Hyde could resist naming a closer and go by availability and his gut, with performance dictating the choice later.

Hyde can use less caution with Wells, who didn't pitch for two seasons due to his Tommy John surgery. Wells had two stints on the injured list this year, with right wrist tendinitis and right shoulder inflammation. Breaks in the summer that also allowed the Orioles to control his innings.

Silver lining setbacks, if you will.

Wells can be treated more like the other relievers in camp, which also means he's competing for a job. But as a favorite to be in Baltimore in April, which is a separator.

His outings will draw a lot of interest.

If not Rutschman, then who?

Or is it "whom?"

The Orioles will have two catchers on their opening day roster. Two catchers will need to be added to the 40-man roster.

Rutschman could be the starter breaking camp, but there's also the strong possibility that baseball's No. 1 prospect returns to Triple-A Norfolk.

Spring training will enable the Orioles to fill in the catching blanks, whether there's one or two.

Backup competitions are necessary but can be a snooze. Craig Tatum over Chad Moeller in 2010 was an upset but didn't unseat Super Bowl III on any all-time lists.

What happens in the upcoming spring training is more intriguing because two catchers from outside the organization could break camp.

A lot more interesting than 2021 with Pedro Severino and Chance Sisco pretty much locks.

Jacob Nottingham and Anthony Bemboom signed minor league contracts. The Orioles are expected to bring in at least one more catcher and might offer a major league deal. There also could be a late entry, like Severino in 2019.

The starter usually is known before he reports to the complex. Not in 2022.

Here's the interactive part.

1. Does Wells make the team and is he the closer on opening day?

2. Who are the catchers?

3. If a tree falls in the forest and no one's around, does it make a sound?

(Sorry, ignore the last one. Doesn't pertain to the Orioles.)

A couple of leftovers for breakfast
Rewinding an Orioles roster review
 

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