We’re less than a week away from pitchers and catchers taking the back fields at Ed Smith Stadium for the Orioles’ first spring training workout. I can’t guarantee much these days, but I’m fairly certain that it won’t be snowing sideways.
Here’s the list of non-roster invitees:
Edell, Ryan LHP
Eyre, Willie RHP
Galarraga, Armando RHP
Johnson, Steve RHP
Link, Jon RHP
Neshek, Pat RHP
Reyes, Dennys LHP
Socolovich, Miguel RHP
Villarreal, Oscar RHP
Among position players, Johnson has the best shot at making the team (I forgot to include him earlier.) Tolleson can’t be discounted, however, because of Brian Roberts’ uncertain status. Taylor Teagarden will back up catcher Matt Wieters unless he’s hurt, in which case Paulino could have his contract purchased.
Ward has no shot after playing at Single-A Frederick, but keep an eye on him. He threw out more than 50 percent of runners attempting to steal last year, and he’s got a lot of fans in the organization.
The 40-man roster is bursting with late-inning relievers, including Kevin Gregg, Jim Johnson, Matt Lindstrom, Luis Ayala, Pedro Strop and Darren O’Day. Alfredo Simon has pitched in a variety of roles, so you also can put him on the list.
We’ll almost certainly have a trade or two in spring training. There are too many guys in camp who are out of minor league options and would have to clear waivers before being assigned to Triple-A Norfolk. Strop is a prime example. He was outstanding in September, but he’s facing an uphill climb to make the team.
The Orioles can’t carry too many one-inning guys, not with a rotation that’s starving for proven innings-eaters at the major league level.
When I asked executive vice president Dan Duquette on Friday whether the current roster is the one we’ll see in Saraosta, he replied, “We’re not planning on adding additional people between now and next week.”
The Orioles currently have no plans to make Gregg the closer again. If they’re also serious about keeping Johnson in the bullpen, he’s got to be considered the ninth-inning specialist as they head to Sarasota.
Gregg could be pushed to the seventh inning, though the availability of other pitchers also makes it possible for him to work the eighth or ninth. Manager Buck Showalter will have some flexibility.
The Orioles would trade Gregg if they found a match, and they’d eat a chunk of the $5.8 million that he’s owed for 2012.
Before I close - see what I did there? - here’s the additional spring training staff: