The process of crafting a camp roster

Efforts made by the Orioles to find more starting options for the rotation and depth in the infield and upper levels of the farm system are synced with the task of filling out the camp roster for spring training.

The amount of players allowed at complexes is expected to be capped at 75. The Orioles are going to treat the process in the same fashion as their 60-man pool and the summer training camp at Camden Yards.

They didn't rush to reach their limit. They left room for players to filter in later, with the first priority being individuals who could contribute during the season.

The Orioles are going to reach agreements on other minor league deals beyond those reported. The contracts are going to keep trickling in, as they did earlier this week with a collection that included veteran starting pitchers Wade LeBlanc and Félix Hernández.

The invite list will be loaded with newcomers to the organization. Plans to withhold a prospect for a short time could be changed prior to the report date as that list is reviewed and tweaked. Or the player could be summoned three days into spring training. Or after the first round of cuts.

In other words, it's going to be fluid. It isn't going to resemble past setups. Omissions in the middle of February can be corrected.

Just as you shouldn't read too much into spring training lineups, you shouldn't jump to any conclusions upon seeing the initial camp roster.

I'm hearing that the Orioles remain in the market for another experienced starter and are still willing to hand out a major league deal. They're going to stay in the $1 million range, a modest payout in exchange for an opportunity for a bounce back season and to reestablish value.

Rotation business didn't close after LeBlanc and Hernández.

Rutschman-Stretching-ST-sidebar.jpgThe initial list of invites that's still a work in progress is expected to be missing some of the top prospects in the organization. Don't be surprised if catcher Adley Rutschman, outfielder Heston Kjerstad, and shortstops Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg, among others, report after the beginning of full-squad workouts. The exposure to the major league side will be done gradually.

Official invites are coming, but done piecemeal.

Trade acquisitions Kyle Bradish and Kevin Smith are expected to be in Sarasota for the first camp and have a shot at beginning the summer at Triple-A Norfolk.

The camp is going to be pitching heavy, with more signings on the horizon, and allow the Orioles to better protect the arms. They also must consider how affiliates below Triple-A are going to start late this year, which necessitates a second wave of arrivals and impacts their methods for distributing and monitoring innings.

It's understandable if the Orioles withhold top pitching prospects Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall and begin their work later in the spring, since they won't be assigned to Norfolk and their seasons will run longer.

The Orioles appear to be satisfied with their infield options after acquiring Jahmai Jones from the Angels in the Alex Cobb trade and signing Seth Mejias-Brean to a minor league deal that gets him to the Ed Smith Stadium complex. But they'll keep an eye on that market as well.

The Reds drafted Mejias-Brean, 29, in the eighth round in 2012 out of the University of Arizona. He appeared in 14 games with the Padres in 2019 and went 7-for-30 with two doubles and two home runs. They released him on Aug. 29, 2020.

Mejias-Brean has a career .350 on-base percentage in eight minor league seasons. He started games at first base, shortstop and third base with the Padres and also played those positions in the minors - making 679 starts at third.

The Orioles also re-signed Malquin Canelo, who was in camp last spring. They brought back Stevie Wilkerson in October. Pat Valaika, Rylan Bannon and Ramón Urías are on the 40-man roster. Mason McCoy and Terrin Vavra are receiving invites.

Richie Martin underwent surgery to remove a broken hamate bone in his left wrist, but is projected to be ready for game activity in early March.

Freddy Galvis and Yolmer Sánchez are expected to be the starters in the middle infield.

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