Griesser’s Suggested Change of the Week
I’d say if there is anything at which the Orioles are worst, it’s pitching. Most of you would likely agree. Simply put, they have the worst ERA in the majors.
That should be all you need to know.
As a product of that, Mike Elias has been scrounging for scraps to place on the bump, and after trading one of the team’s more consistent starters in Andrew Cashner, the search is only going to be heightened.
Now don’t get me wrong. There’s no way I feel that the Orioles are honestly trying to full-on win. Sure, they don’t enjoy losing every game, but for the brass, they’re likely hoping to have the #1 pick in a loaded 2020 MLB draft.
At the same time, it’s important that the bullpen and team as a whole isn’t taxed too badly, which is why it’s important that the team finds serviceable arms to carry Baltimore through August, at which point the team can call up reinforcements from the minors (the elimination of the 40-man limit in September goes into effect in 2020).
In the meantime, the Orioles should place a player who’s familiar with the team, management, ballpark, you name it, on the mound. While the previous regime had toyed with putting him in the role before, I think it’s finally time that Miguel Castro is given a shot to open things up at the major league level.
This isn’t just in Spring Training, either. We’re talking regular season, mid-July baseball – the height of the sport.
The real reasoning behind this move is less because of Castro’s performance and more due to the lack of available players for the Orioles to pick up. In all honestly, there’s not too much that Elias can do to supplement the rotation effectively.
Where that leaves us is Castro, who owns a 5.24 ERA in 46.1 innings of work.
Obviously, those numbers aren’t particularly strong and probably wouldn’t warrant an opportunity to start on most major league teams, but I argue the Orioles shouldn’t utilize him in a pure starter’s role.
Instead, considering the frequency with which Brandon Hyde employs openers, Castro could find himself making an impact as an opener.
With the inclusion of Aaron Brooks and, to a certain extent Asher Wojciechowski and potentially Tom Eshelman, it’s apparent that Baltimore may use this strategy for a great deal of the remainder of the season. If that’s the case, they’ll need more arms to step in and begin the game.
For me, Castro is the right guy.
While Brooks has found himself hovering around two innings per outing before handing the ball to someone else in the pen, I think Castro could provide value to the Orioles by providing a bit more depth in each appearance.
If the Orioles tried him for the 5th rotation spot in the spring, it’s natural to think he has the ability to be stretched for over 1/3 of the game. And, though they may have initially planned for Castro to throw over 5 innings, in the opener role he likely could go four strong (or weak?) before handing it over to the likes of Jimmy Yacabonis or Shawn Armstrong.
In doing so, he’d lessen the nightly stress placed on an already weak bullpen, helping the birds get to September, when the reinforcements come.
Make no mistake, there’s no doubt that Castro will lack the stuff to make a true impact in the opener role – the Orioles are going to continue to lose. But if he can bring any sort of stability to the group of pitchers that Baltimore has at its disposal, maybe he can help Hyde regain some calm.
Lord knows he needs it.