The first Friday in March saw a few moves for the Baltimore Orioles, a couple of them questionable. First let’s start with the players moved to minor league camps.
The biggest name on the list is No. 1 overall prospect Adley Rutschman, who has been sent down to minor league camp following his sole hit of the spring. Not surprisingly, Adley struggled at the plate this spring, as to be expected for the 21-year-old as he continues to grow.
Among the other names sent to minor league camp are Cristian Alvarado, Marcos Diplán, Hunter Cervenka, Martin Cervenka, and Brady Rodgers.
Along with those sent down, Ryan McKenna and Dean Kremer have both been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. These moves narrowed down the Orioles current spring roster to 56 players.
Sending back two Rule 5 guys who pitched well so far this spring seems to be a questionable move.
Rule 5 picks always start with a disadvantage, but I believe these two pitchers showed some value thus far in spring when looking ahead to potential future pieces.
Heading back to the Astros, where Orioles GM Mike Elias had said to have a connection with him, is pitcher Brandon Bailey. Bailey allowed just one run through four innings this spring.
The other pitcher sent back was Michael Rucker, who is being returned to the Chicago Cubs following clearing waivers. Rucker pitched five innings this spring, not allowing one run.
Both players seemed poised for a rotation/bullpen spot, so what happened?
First, these moves are expected during a rebuild. Mike Elias has a lot of moving parts within the pitching staff, and seeing two Rule 5 guys as being able to go the whole season was unrealistic.
Now with the new three batter minimum and the 13-man pitching staff rules, the act of building the staff works a little different.
Mike Elias said, “Here in camp, we wanted to boil it down to the pitchers that we think were going to be able to carry all year.”
These moves opened room on the 40-man roster for recent signings Wade LeBlanc and Tommy Milone. This also means there are now 54 players in camp.
As for signing a pitcher in free agency, Elias has said the door isn’t closed yet, but “there’s barely some light poking in.”
As we come closer to Opening Day on March 26, we will soon see a clearer view of how the Orioles rotation will fill up along side John Means, Asher Wojciechowski, and Alex Cobb.
What are your thoughts on the return of the Orioles’ Rule 5 picks, along with the other roster moves? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!