The Jackson Holliday news headlined a day of some O's roster clarity

As it turns out the bigger surprise may have come during the Winter Meetings in Nashville in December. For anyone then pondering whether Jackson Holliday could make the O's Opening Day roster after just 18 Triple-A games (22 counting playoffs), there was logic and reason to say that that was just too few. 

The kid could use more seasoning.

So reporters might have expected Mike Elias to say something like sure they love the kid, he’s a remarkable talent and they’ll take a long look in spring training.

Instead, he raised a few eyebrows when he stated he was “a very strong possibility” to make the OD roster.

But, after all that and Holliday at age 20 having a strong spring camp, he will not make it. Surprised again. I was anyway, speaking for one.

So now we wait for his time. He will get more reps against lefty pitching on the farm and can play every night, or just about every one, at second base. That all will help. But soon the kid is going to have to show he can handle second in the big leagues and that he can handle big league lefties. I say he can and will. But now we wait for that time. It may be a short wait.

Holliday now heads back to the farm along with Kyle Stowers, Connor Norby, Heston Kjerstad and Coby Mayo, who were all cut Friday. It was like the club was saying yesterday we are not going to take this bandaid off a bit at a time. We’re ripping this thing, all at once. Ouch.

It was a cut that some in Birdland didn’t want to see, but it came.

Holliday handled himself well in camp in many respects, including in how he dealt with a media crush. Everyone wanted an interview and he accommodated us often.

Even when I asked him how he might feel if it turned out that he didn't make the Opening Day roster? He could have said, "I'm not thinking like that" or "I'll cross that bridge when and if it comes." but instead he gave me an honest and sincere answer.

“If that doesn’t happen, I’m still in a really good spot," he said in mid-March. "Talking to my mom right before I left for camp, she said, ‘Well, if you don’t make it you are 20 at Triple-A and knocking on the door of the big leagues. If you make it you are 20 and in the big leagues.’ It’s a win-win for me. Couldn’t draw it up better myself. Quite a blessing."

And now there are 38 left on the camp roster with 32 from the 40-man, five non-roster invites (in Julio Teheran, Maverick Handley, Michael Perez, Andrew Suarez and Connor Wong) and Felix Bautista on the injured list. 

Wong opted out of his minor league deal Friday and now the club must give him a roster spot or cut him. As of last night that decision was not made or announced.

We do know the O's rotation, which will be Corbin Burnes and then Grayson Rodriguez, Tyler Wells, Dean Kremer and Cole Irvin in that order.

I think six bullpen spots are pretty well set with Craig Kimbrel, Yennier Cano, Dillon Tate, Danny Coulombe, Cionel Perez and Mike Baumann.

That leaves this group for two more spots: Keegan Akin, Andrew Suarez, Bryan Baker, Jacob Webb, Teheran and Jonathan Heasley.

Webb is out of options and Teheran, I believe, would have to accept a minors assignment. Suarez has an option left as does Baker, Akin and Heasley.

We know that Adley Rutschman and James McCann will make it as the catchers and so will Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander. We know Jorge Mateo is on there and we think Colton Cowser probably is.

We expect the infield to include Ryan Mountcastle, Ryan O’Hearn, Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg and probably Ramon Urias.

Is Mateo a fifth outfielder that can also play infield? Will Tyler Nevin, who is out of options, be a roster surprise and make it? Can Ryan McKenna hang onto a roster spot? Will Nick Maton shock us and make it?

Holliday’s move to the farm kind of rocked its way through Birdland Friday. Some fans were upset. It was a tough day for prospects, not just the kid.

We got some roster clarity on Friday but now there is still more work to be done.

There is much more on an eventful day of Baltimore roster cuts Friday both here and here



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