ORIOLES OPENING DAY ROSTER
Pitchers (13): Danys Baez-rhp, Erik Bedard-lhp , Chad Bradford-rhp, Brian Burres-lhp, Daniel Cabrera-rhp, Jeremy Guthrie-rhp, Adam Loewen-lhp, John Parrish-lhp, Chris Ray-rhp, Steve Trachsel-rhp, Jamie Walker-lhp, Scott Williamson-rhp, Jaret Wright-rhp
And herein lies the big news- the Orioles are breaking camp with 13 pitchers, none of whom are Todd Williams. The Orioles have been not-so-secretly shopping Williams, so you have to assume that whatever he does in Norfolk is probably not going to help his trade value. Beyond that, they will have a three man bench until Jay Payton comes back, when Guthrie, Burres, or Parrish will likely be demoted to make room. While it is likely that at least one of Wright and Trachsel will not survive the season, their contracts dictate that they will at least last through the first month or two.
Guthrie and Burres clearly made good impressions in camp and the organization has long been high on Parrish’s potential. Assuming his arm is in good shape and he gets more work than he did in the early parts of 2005, Parrish could even emerge as a high leverage left-hander. While a 12-man bullpen should be more than enough, especially given the financial commitment the Orioles have made to the 2007 version, a 13-man bullpen is the kind of indulgency that could cripple the team against left-handers. Just consider the fact that the Orioles will send three left-handed outfielders, two of whom famously struggle against southpaws, against Johan Santana on opening day.
Catchers (2): Paul Bako, Ramon Hernandez
Paul Bako is a direct beneficiary of the reverse correlation between offensive ability and defensive reputation. The fact is that Bako will turn 35 years old in June and his defensive skills are declining. Certainly, his paltry .490 OPS in 2006 does not justify his guaranteed $900,000 contract, which was ultimately the main reason that Rule 5 pick Adam Donachie was sent back to the Kansas City Royals, despite an impressive spring.
Ramon should be a significant asset again in 2007, which should help quell the concerna that arise any time a team gives a four year contract to a catcher on the wrong side of thirty.
Infielders (5): Chris Gomez, Kevin Millar, Melvin Mora, Brian Roberts, Miguel Tejada
Word from the Orioles is that they are inclined to use Millar in a job share at designated hitter. Since he’ll largely be platooning with left-handed Jay Gibbons, it is less than ideal that he has demonstrated a reverse platoon split. Re-signing Gomez was a good idea, as he is the lone bench player who has demonstrated an ability to mash lefties. He can’t really play shortstop anymore, but that is not much of a concern in the land of ironmen.
Outfielders (5): Freddie Bynum, Jay Gibbons, Aubrey Huff, Nick Markakis, Corey Patterson
Gibbons will start the year in left field, having lost his prior job to young gun Nick Markakis. The transition shouldn’t be too difficult, but, with his level of athleticism, it certainly bears watching. Bynum is athletic and versatile, which won him favor with Sam Perlozzo. With Jason Dubois and Jon Knott mashing away in Norfolk, his hold on the job will be tenuous, especially with Dubois making so much noise in camp. Hopefully, the Orioles learn quickly that sacrificing this many at bats against southpaws is a bad idea.
Disabled list: Jay Payton-of (15-day), Sendy Rleal-rhp (15-day), Kris Benson-rhp (60-day)
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com