Orioles roster seems to be nearing completion but hasn't necessarily reached that point

The Orioles ventured into the offseason with the stated goal of finding veteran starting pitching to supplement a collection of younger, promising arms with varying degrees of major league success, none of it sustained for significant periods. John Means is the undisputed ace but shelved by reconstructive surgery on his left elbow that could sideline him for the first half. The others showed flashes of becoming established in the rotation, some a little brighter than others.

Kyle Gibson signed a $10 million contract for 2023 and left-hander Cole Irvin was acquired in a trade with the Athletics, providing four years of team control and another consumer of innings. Perhaps a slight deviation from the club’s initial vision of how the free agent market would play out, though it wasn’t expressed publicly in exact terms.

The second tier wasn’t as much of a bargain as perceived early in the process, but the Orioles eventually were able to land their veterans, and at a much lower cost. Irvin hasn’t reached his first year of arbitration eligibility.

Never assume that the front office is done, even though the numbers – and these are available to the media – show an overflow of starters for a five-man rotation and could flood the bullpen.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias also prioritized left-handed bats for first base, second base and the corner outfielder. Players who also could contribute as the designated hitter.

Adam Frazier is the replacement for Rougned Odor, so that box is checked. Ryan O’Hearn and Lewin Díaz (eventually) cleared waivers and were outrighted, allowing them to compete for jobs as non-roster invites to spring training. Nomar Mazara, Franchy Cordero and Josh Lester also will try to do it.

None of them represent a big bat for the middle of the order. Frazier is a lock for opening day. Otherwise, the Orioles could break camp without a non-roster player making the team, with the backup first baseman a combination of Anthony Santander, Adley Rutschman, James McCann and maybe Terrin Vavra.

Again, the Orioles will stay glued to the waiver wire in case a player appears who could fill a need.

They signed right-handed hitting first baseman Curtis Terry to a minor league deal yesterday. Terry batted .250/.348/.429 with 19 doubles, 10 home runs, 40 walks and 56 strikeouts in 80 games with Triple-A St. Paul before the Twins released him in August, and he’s a career .281/.355/.506 hitter with 90 home runs in 520 minor league games.

Terry went 4-for-45 in 13 games and 48 plate appearances with the Rangers in 2021.

The bullpen might be finished beyond deciding who sticks and who gets sent down. Elias wanted a veteran and turned to a familiar face, Mychal Givens, who was traded to the Rockies at the 2020 deadline. He strengthens the bridge to closer Félix Bautista and helps to soften the blow if there’s regression among some returnees, which often happens with relievers.

The hunt for a backup catcher ended with last month’s McCann trade, a savvy pickup considering the defensive upgrade, past production at the plate that died in Queens, and the $5 million cost over the next two seasons, which is more than reasonable. The only competition comes if he’s injured in camp.

The interesting pursuit, however spirited, is a defensive-minded corner outfielder who can be trusted in left field. Not sure how he’d fit on the roster without a trade or someone being optioned. Something to keep an eye on leading into spring training and beyond the report dates.

The offseason activity confirms how much the Orioles are depending on the impact of full seasons from Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson and other prospects who debuted last summer or are on the cusp. They are plugging in some new veterans, none of the acquisitions splashy, and hoping it’s enough to get them into the playoffs.

Irvin has made only one start at Camden Yards and doesn’t know where he’ll slot in the 2023 rotation, but he couldn’t contain his excitement yesterday during his video media scrum.

“The first thing that came to my mind when I got the call, when we faced Baltimore at the end of the season, is how many plays Gunnar Henderson made that series,” Irvin said. “That kid’s jersey was dirty by the end of the first inning, top to bottom.”

Irvin also tossed a little love at Ryan Mountcastle, remembering him from the minors and also last April’s game in Oakland, when the Orioles’ first baseman doubled in the first inning, and a 2021 meeting that included Mountcastle’s single in the fourth.

“I’m just glad that I don’t have to face Ryan Mountcastle anymore,” Irvin said. “That guy’s got my number since, like, Double-A.”

Irvin noted the youth on the roster but also its level of talent. For an outsider - and he admitted that he doesn't know anyone personally - he seems to have a real feel for the group that he's joining.

"If you look around the field, you've got Adley, you've got Gunnar, and then you've got the young guys coming up with DL Hall, John Means coming back from (Tommy John surgery)," he said. "I think there's just so much. Kyle Gibson is there. I think there's so much good about this team, about this organization, just to look forward to this season coming off a very successful season. It wasn't where the team wanted to end up, I'm sure, but there's a lot of potential to turn some more heads in our direction.

"Coming into the spring, I think that's the goal, is to turn more heads and get some more attention on us to be able to win more ballgames, and I think we have the team and the lineup and the rotation to do it. ... It's going to be an exciting year. I'm eager to just get started and get down there."

Cole Irvin addition another step to better overall...
Orioles sign 1B Curtis Terry to minor league deal

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