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Catching up with the American League East: Baltimore Orioles

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They are... Not good.

Baltimore Orioles Photo Day Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Over the next few days, we will be taking a look at the Red Sox competition in the American League East and digging into what their roster look likes. Obviously the world is throwing a wrench into our normal schedule, but there doesn’t seem like there will be any changes between now and whenever the season does start, so this look should still be relevant whenever the season does start. With that said, given that we don’t know when the season will start I will be taking some liberties when applicable to decide whether or not injured players will be healthy by the time the season begins. Today we finish up with the Orioles.

Offseason Additions

José Iglesias, SS; Wade LeBlanc, LHSP; Hector Velázquez, RHP; Kohl Stewart, RHP; Andrew Velázquez, UTIL; Pat Valaika, INF

The Orioles made a handful of additions this winter as you can see above, but really none of them are too major. Iglesias is, of course, an old friend, and he’s also not a player to just wave aside. Far a from a superstar, the slick fielding shortstop still very much has a spot in this league and only needs to hit a little to be an average regular given his glove. You’d hope he’s more of a role player than what he’s pegged to be for Baltimore, but he’s a solid addition all the same. Everyone else was either a non-roster invitee expected to make the roster or a waiver claim, and none of whom really have roles on contending teams at this point. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2020 Baltimore Orioles.

Offseason Losses

Mark Trumbo, OF/1B

The thing about being one of the worst teams in baseball (side note: I don’t think I appreciated just how bad the Tigers were last year) is that you can’t really lose all that much talent in a single winter because there isn’t any on the roster to lose to begin with. Roster Resource has Trumbo as the lone departure for Baltimore this year. He played in all of 12 games last year and had a 28 wRC+.

Lineup

C: Chance Sisco

1B: Chris Davis

2B: Hanser Alberto

SS: José Iglesias

3B: Rio Ruiz

LF: Anthony Santander

CF: Austin Hays

RF: DJ Stewart

DH: Renato Nuñez

*Tugs on collar* This is ugly. Granted, the Orioles are missing their best player here with Trey Mancini having just had surgery on a malignant tumor. I’m honestly not sure what the timeline for something like that is, and it goes without saying that baseball is secondary for him right now. If he is in this lineup it’s a better group, but it’s still one of the worst in baseball. The good news is there is some young talent starting to creep in here, like Hays, Santander and Sisco.

Rotation

  1. John Means, LHP
  2. Alex Cobb, RHP
  3. Asher Wojciechowski, RHP
  4. Wade LeBlanc, LHP
  5. Kohl Stewart, RHP

I’m tugging on my collar again here. The Orioles don’t really have any real weaknesses, I suppose, because that in a way would imply there are strengths. The rotation is really rough, though. Means, to his credit, is coming off an impressive rookie year where he finished with a 3.60 ERA in a juiced ball year. The peripherals don’t really back up his ERA and he’s certainly miscast at the top of a rotation, but like with Iglesias above Means is a good player who has a spot in this league. Beyond him, that’s a little less clear. There may be some bounceback potential in Cobb if he can stay healthy — a big if — but if that were to happen he’s likely to be trade bait anyway. The rest of the rotation is likely to churn pretty much the entire season.

Bullpen

Mychal Givens, RHP

Richard Bleier, LHP

Hunter Harvey, RHP

Miguel Castro, RHP

Shawn Armstrong, RHP

Paul Fry, LHP

Tanner Scott, LHP

Hector Velázquez, RHP

There is a pretty decent chance that the bullpen is the best portion of this Orioles roster, less because of the talent and more because relievers are more volatile. That is often stated in relation to relievers coming off good seasons regressing, but it is also relevant to relievers breaking out. Givens has talent but has never really been consistent, which can also be said (to varying extents) to guys like Harvey and Castro as well. Bleier and Fry and be death on lefties, but that of course is less important with the three-batter rule. And then there’s Velázquez and, well, we know who he is.

Parting Thoughts

My mom taught me that if I don’t have anything nice to say I shouldn’t say anything at all.