Opening Day is ten days away and the Orioles still have a few questions that need to be answered before the first pitch against the Minnesota Twins.
Who Wins The 5th Starter Spot?
Nestor Cortes Jr. and Miguel Castro will both take the mound on Tuesday night and whoever pitches the best will have the slight edge in winning the final spot in the rotation. We can never count out Mike Wright as it appears the organization really wants him to be the guy. It’s extremely frustrating that none of the above pitchers have run away with the competition.
Alex Cobb remains a free agent, but we know that won’t happen. This could be a rotating door all season.
GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld
Will Chance Sisco Make the Team?
Full disclosure, I think Sisco should be the starting catcher and Caleb Joseph the back-up.
However, Joseph will enter the season as the starter which means Sisco would not be getting consistent at bats. I think it would be a mistake to stunt his growth by using him one or two days a week or not allowing him to face left-handed pitching. The best plan since Joseph will be the starter is to let Sisco catch everyday in Norfolk until it’s apparent he needs to be the starter in Baltimore.
This would give Andrew Susac the edge to make the team.
How Will the Outfield and Bench Shake Out?
I’m lumping this all together because the injuries to Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis can have a domino effect on how the roster looks. We know Trumbo will miss the start of the season due to a quadriceps injury, but will Chris Davis be able to start consistently at first base as he continues to recover from an elbow injury?
If he can’t, this obviously means Trey Mancini would start at first base which would leave a hole in left field. If he can, then the team just needs to rotate at designated hitter.
It looks like Colby Rasmus and Craig Gentry will platoon in right field which means Austin Hays will likely continue his development in Triple-A. As is the case with Sisco, if Hays isn’t going to play every day in MLB, he needs to do so in the minors.
This has the potential to really throw us some curveballs, especially with Danny Valencia dealing with a calf injury (we should note that it’s not considered a serious injury at the moment).
I think Pedro Alvarez has the chance to crack the big-league roster with the Trumbo injury which could set up a platoon at designated hitter with Valencia. The question now becomes, who gets the final bench spot?
Will it be a true utility infielder, or will the team keep another plus defender in the outfield?
The time to answer all of these questions draws near, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at your local weather forecast (assuming you’re around Baltimore).