Orioles 40-man roster raises some interesting questions

The Orioles have marked an important item off their check list by reaching agreement with their entire coaching staff on contracts for 2016.

Manager Buck Showalter wanted to keep the group intact and it’s going to happen, despite interest from other organizations.

There were concerns that bullpen coach Dom Chiti might leave to accept a job as pitching coach, but he signed a new deal on Friday.

In case you missed it, the Phillies hired former Orioles pitching coach Rick Kranitz as bullpen coach. Kranitz was the Brewers’ pitching coach until being fired earlier this month.

Unlike some other coaches in his position, Kranitz built a solid relationship with the Orioles’ young pitchers.

The Orioles’ 40-man roster is full, but it will undergo plenty of changes before spring training. Don’t get too attached to it.

As it’s presently constructed, the roster leaves the Orioles with some interesting decisions regarding players who are out of minor league options.

For example:

* Dylan Bundy signed a major league contract after the Orioles made him the fourth overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. He must break camp with them next spring or be exposed to waivers. The other alternative is placing him on the disabled list, which probably would be more of a stall tactic.

Bundy will pitch in the Arizona Fall League, as first reported yesterday by MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski - further evidence that Bundy’s shoulder is fine.

Bundy doesn’t figure to compete for a spot in the Orioles’ rotation, though it’s too early to assign specific roles to certain pitchers. He could be used out of the bullpen, where he made his two major league appearances back in 2012 before undergoing ligament-reconstructive surgery in his right elbow.

johnson-s-rear-sidebar.jpg* Steve Johnson made it back to the majors in September after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder. He drew interest from several clubs last winter, including the Phillies and Mariners, before agreeing to a minor league deal with the Orioles and staying close to home.

Johnson has made five starts in the majors, the last in 2013. He could compete for a spot as a swingman, a right-handed version of T.J. McFarland. He also could be dangled as trade bait if teams continue to inquire about him.

* Nolan Reimold earned a spot on the 25-man roster in spring training, but he had to wait for the club to purchase his contract because he was out of options. The Orioles figured that he would be claimed off waivers if they tried to send him down.

Reimold registered a .344 on-base percentage in 61 games and 195 plate appearances. He brought elements to the lineup that were sorely needed.

The Orioles are expected to keep Reimold on the 40-man roster. Depending on their winter activity, they could give him a shot at a starting job or as an extra outfielder since he can play all three spots.

* Steve Clevenger was highly disappointed that the Orioles kept him on the opening day roster for only one day before optioning him after Chris Davis came off the restricted list. They chose Ryan Lavarnway as their backup.

Lavarnway went 3-for-28 before the Orioles designated him for assignment on May 26 and recalled Clevenger, the Pride of Pigtown, who batted .287/.314/.426 with four doubles, two triples, two home runs and 15 RBIs in 30 games.

Clevenger, named an International League All-Star, could make the club has a backup to Caleb Joseph or as a third catcher if the Orioles allow him to serve as a left-handed designated hitter, his primary role in September. We can’t really project what the Orioles will do behind the plate without knowing what happens to Matt Wieters.

Clevenger apparently made enough improvements defensively to satisfy the Orioles, but he still could be traded. They had chances to move him at the non-waiver deadline, with the Mariners being one of the teams expressing interest, but they held onto him.

* Do the Orioles continue to carry Jimmy Paredes on the 40-man roster and attempt to transition him to the outfield? Do they hope that his spring training bat resurfaces, when he went 20-for-55 (.364) with seven doubles, a triple, two home runs, 12 RBIs and eight runs scored in 24 Grapefruit League games?

Do they also count on Paredes’ first-half bat resurfacing, when he batted .299/.332/.475 with 12 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs and 39 RBIs in 68 games? They certainly hope he isn’t more accurately defined by his second-half slump, when he hit .216/.252/.265 with five doubles and three RBIs in 36 games.

One more question: Should I have pushed for Ryan Minor to write my blog entry this morning and ended my streak of consecutive days working at 2,632?

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