Reviewing three more unexpected developments in the Orioles' 2023 season

Two days past Thanksgiving is too early to begin worrying whether the leftovers are edible. To check for discoloring, change in texture, hints that a trip to the emergency room is in your future.

It isn’t too late to keep looking back on the 2023 Orioles season.

Among the surprises and oddities, I’ve already mentioned how Austin Voth wasn’t impactful, Dillon Tate wasn’t able to pitch, Mike Baumann wasn’t big only in size, Yennier Cano was an All-Star, Danny Coulombe was cool under pressure, Adam Frazier had a power surge and outage, Ryan O’Hearn hit in the middle of the order, Cedric Mullins posted curious splits, and Joey Krehbiel wasn’t around much.

Here are three more:

Logan Gillaspie made the Opening Day roster.

He’s easy to forget if challenged to recite the list of 26 players who broke camp with the team.

Gillaspie was protected in the Rule 5 draft in 2021, again defying odds, and appeared in 17 games the following season, posting a 3.12 ERA in 17 1/3 innings. He made his major league debut on May 17 and was optioned in June, July and August.

The competition was fierce this spring for the last bullpen spot, and the Orioles chose to option Krehbiel and hold onto Mike Baumann and Gillaspie, who didn’t allow an earned run and struck out 10 batters in seven innings.

“He had a great spring training,” manager Brandon Hyde said at the time. “His stuff has ticked up. I love his mentality, and he’s been throwing the ball extremely well.”

“It means a lot,” Gillaspie said. “They trust me, they believe in me. Go out and do my thing like I’ve been doing.

“I was waiting for a tap on the shoulder and ‘Go into the office.’ The longer that I was there, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I might actually make it.’”

He did because of injuries to Tate and Mychal Givens that created room. Gillaspie didn’t make it through April before the Orioles optioned him again, and he pitched only once in May and twice in June, finishing with a 6.00 ERA and 2.111 WHIP in 11 games.

The Red Sox claimed Gillaspie off waivers Sept. 4 and the Padres selected him Nov. 15.

Terrin Vavra made no impact.

Vavra was the talk of camp, batting .348/.392/.565 with two doubles, a triple and two home runs in 16 games. His showed some power. He played different positions. And he made his first Opening Day roster.

Talk about a guy trending in the right direction.

The Orioles didn’t have a regular spot for Vavra in the lineup, but he could play the infield and outfield and provide good at-bats. A nice bench piece on a contender. Hyde liked him. But he lasted only 27 games and went 12-for-49 – all of his hits singles.

Vavra was optioned on April 27, recalled May 9, optioned June 6 and placed on Triple-A Norfolk’s injured list June 16 with a right shoulder strain. He eventually was pulled from an injury rehab assignment and moved to the 60-day IL.

A precarious hold on a 40-man roster spot led to Vavra clearing waivers and being outrighted on Nov. 14.

The Orioles used him at second base and third base and in left field and right. He also worked out as a catcher. The versatility remains an attractive quality. But Vavra must start over and attempt to get back on the 40-man and make another run at an Opening Day roster.

Anthony Bemboom was the backup catcher – for a while.

Attempting to predict those rosters comes with a warning. Watch out for trap doors.

James McCann was the slam dunk backup to Adley Rutschman. No one could pry the job away from him. Look somewhere else if thirsting for a good camp competition.

Hyde was asked after a late exhibition game in, I believe Bradenton, why McCann hadn’t played in a while. He responded by revealing the soreness in McCann’s left side that eventually led to a stop on the injured list.

McCann went on the IL last season with the Mets after being diagnosed with a strained left oblique, a little more than two weeks after returning from a fractured hamate bone.

“It’s something minor,” McCann said on March 26, “but obliques are a funny thing, and after going through an oblique injury last year, it’s something we’ve treated with a lot of caution just to be sure it doesn’t turn into a two-month absence.”

McCann wasn’t gone that long. The Orioles activated him on April 9 while optioning outfielder Kyle Stowers, and outrighted Bemboom four days later.

Bemboom appeared in only six games after making back-to-back Opening Day rosters, the last on July 2. He was outrighted again 10 days later and is a minor league free agent.

Appreciating Kyle Gibson's time as an Oriole
A few more surprises from the 2023 season

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