Tyler Nevin was designated for assignment on Wednesday and we still don’t know whether he’s staying in the organization as an outright or joining another team via a trade or waiver claim.
I have a few more questions before 2022 turns into 2023.
How will a new double play combination impact the proficiency in turning them?
Adam Frazier could get most of the starts at second base or he might be busy switching between the infield and outfield. He’s signed for one season and could get bumped over the summer for one of the prospects. But he’s here right now and his main position is second base.
Gunnar Henderson is expected be the third baseman despite Ramón Urías winning a Gold Glove in 2022. Henderson also will be used at shortstop. Urías will move around the infield, with his primary landing spot to be determined.
Rougned Odor is gone after contributing to a defense that turned 150 double plays, the second-most in the American League and fifth-most in the majors. Odor had his deficiencies, but this was one area where he seemed to excel.
Odor helped to turn 150 double plays, ranking second in the AL and fifth in the majors. No Orioles second baseman turned as many since Jonathan Schoop had 132 in 2017.
Mateo helped to turn 91, tying him with the Rangers’ Corey Seager for most among major league shortstops. It marked the most by an Orioles shortstop since J.J. Hardy’s 99 in 2014.
There’s another absence to consider besides Odor’s.
Jordan Lyles, who signed with the Royals, induced 18 opponent double plays to tie his career high and leave him tied for fifth-most among AL pitchers.
Kyle Bradish returns after inducing 16, which led AL rookies and was second in the majors.
In citing reasons why the Orioles were much better in 2022, it’s important to cite how the ability to turn spun their season in the right direction.
Can the Orioles carry reliever Andrew Politi for the entire season?
Politi is a Rule 5 selection and he can’t be optioned unless first passing through waivers and offered back to the Red Sox.
They’d take him.
The Orioles can’t stash Politi in the bullpen. He must be able to contribute, to be trustworthy. Otherwise, you’re playing a man short.
That’s one challenge.
A potential opening for Politi was filled with the signing of Mychal Givens.
Five of the eight bullpen spots should be occupied by Givens, Félix Bautista, Dillon Tate, Bryan Baker and Cionel Pérez – assuming the Orioles stick with a five-man rotation. Keegan Akin is a second left-hander who shouldn’t be judged too harshly for fading. DL Hall is a possible third left-hander if he isn’t in the rotation. Joey Krehbiel was optioned in September but remains in the mix. Nick Vespi didn’t allow an earned run in Triple-A and could be fighting for a job in camp.
Starter candidates Austin Voth, Mike Baumann, Bruce Zimmermann and Spenser Watkins are relief options. At least one long man is needed.
Politi will try to fight through the crowd and get to Boston for Opening Day.
Will Bradish be good for a full season?
Bradish missed about a month with right shoulder inflammation, returning to the rotation on July 29. He was scuffling at that point, with his ERA climbing to 7.38 and his WHIP to 1.770.
The Orioles saw a different pitcher in the second half.
Bradish registered a 3.28 ERA and 1.164 WHIP in 13 starts. Opponents batted .339/.401/.566 before the All-Star break and .212/.296/.312 after it. He shut out the Astros twice, on two hits in eight innings on Aug. 26 and two hits in 8 2/3 innings on Sept. 22.
The right-hander became the first rookie in Orioles history with 10 strikeouts, no walks and no runs allowed in a game.
Bradish had a 2.76 ERA in his last eight starts and surrendered only two home runs. The Orioles went 9-4 in his last 13.
No other Orioles pitcher had 10 or more strikeouts in a game. Bradish did it twice, including his May 10 gem in St. Louis.
The rotation isn't settled. Bradish closed out the 2022 season looking like he belonged in it.