The Current State of the Baltimore Orioles 40-Man Roster
Following the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the Baltimore Orioles 40-man roster has taken on a completely different look. Many of the team’s most recognizable players are gone, allowing the Orioles to begin a major rebuild toward what the club hopes will be future contending teams.
While the rebuild is underway, the extensive youth movement is not necessarily reflected on the current 40-man roster. When looking at the 40-man roster, it is clear that there are some potential building blocks, but that the club still has numerous areas to address going forward.
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Before delving too deeply into the overview of the current 40-man roster, there are a few things to note. First, many of the team’s best prospects are not on the 40-man roster for the sheer fact that they do not need to be there right now. Circumstances will dictate when players are added to the 40-man, including promotions to the majors and protections from the Rule 5 Draft. (See more on Rule 5 procedures here.)
Secondly, the rebuilding process remains a work in progress, meaning that remaining veterans could be dealt in the near future. My BSL colleague Bob Harkins took a closer look at potential future trade candidates last week, and I would encourage you to read his piece if you have not already.
Without further ado, here is a position-by-position breakdown of the current Orioles 40-man roster.
Pitching is going to be a focal point as the Orioles rebuild, so the current makeup figures to change quickly. For now, Dylan Bundy, Alex Cobb, and Andrew Cashner can all be penciled into the rotation, though all three could be trade candidates in the near future. Yefry Ramirez has had his ups and downs during his limited time in the majors this season, but might be a rotation option for 2019 if he has a strong finish to the year. David Hess might also be a rotation option for next year if he can put together more consistent stretches of productivity, and slotting Miguel Castro into the rotation at some point could always be an option. Prospect Hunter Harvey is also on the 40-man but needs a healthy stretch in the minors to build experience.
Certainly, the rotation will be in flux over the near future, as will the bullpen. However, there are a few potential building blocks already on the 40-man, including recent trade acquisitions Cody Carroll and Evan Phillips. Tanner Scott, meanwhile, shows plenty of promise at points, but is going to require patience from the Orioles as he tries to iron out command issues. Mychal Givens is, for now, the biggest name in the bullpen. This season has been a struggle for Givens, but he might increase his trade value down the road if his 2019 season is closer to his 2015-17 form.
Caleb Joseph remains after the trade deadline rush and is eligible for arbitration after this season. However, it remains to be seen whether the Orioles will leave him in the mix or cut ties and go with younger, more cost-effective options as they embark on their rebuilding process.
If they decide to move on from Joseph, the club has two intriguing options on its 40-man roster. Chance Sisco has struggled at the plate during his trips to the majors, but the Orioles could give him more time in the future to iron out those issues. Austin Wynns, meanwhile, figures if nothing else to be a solid defensive option behind the plate and could develop into a capable starter for the Orioles if he produces enough offensively.
This an area where the Orioles still have some major decisions to make. For right now, the slate of infielders on the 40-man includes a potential trade option in Danny Valencia, some role players (Jace Peterson, Renato Nunez, the injured Steve Wilkerson), minor league depth (Breyvic Valera, Engelb Vielma), Chris Davis, Tim Beckham, and Jonathan Villar.
Davis’ contract is a burden as the Orioles try to rebuild, given his lackluster production the past few seasons. Optimistically, he could rebound to the point where he is in some way tradeable, but otherwise the club may have to make a drastic decision down the road. Villar, meanwhile, is a more difficult case. Acquired in the Jonathan Schoop trade with Milwaukee, the veteran does not fit the bill of a player that is typically traded to a rebuilding team. If he can produce closer to his career 2016 season, Villar may be tradeable, but for now it seems that he is going to serve as a placeholder until the Orioles can make more long-term plans in the infield. Beckham is arguably in a similar situation and needs to increase his productivity over the final weeks of the season to boost what has otherwise been a lost 2018.
For right now, the outfield features mainstay Adam Jones, but he still seems likely to depart the Orioles after this season (even if he was not inclined to accept a mid-season trade). Craig Gentry and Joey Rickard’s roles would seem uncertain beyond this year, and the remaining crop has some issues to overcome. Trey Mancini needs to rebound from a sophomore slump, while Austin Hays has been plagued by injuries and inconsistencies this year in the minors, and Anthony Santander needs more minor league seasoning.
That said, all three players could be intriguing pieces if they rebound. The system is also deep with close-to-the-majors outfield options, so look for names like Yusniel Diaz, Cedric Mullins, DJ Stewart, and Ryan McKenna to possibly crack the 40-man roster down the road.
Technically, Mark Trumbo is listed under DH on the Orioles’ website, so I will note his situation here (though he can play first base or right field when needed). For now, Trumbo is one of the few recognizable players remaining in the lineup. His defensive limitations hamper his trade value, but he might not be a bad trade option prior to the 2019 season if the Orioles find a willing partner that is in need of a power hitter under a reasonable short-term contract.
As I noted earlier, the Orioles are going to add prospects to the 40-man on an as-needed basis, so the 40-man roster is currently in a state of continual transition. New acquisitions Dillon Tate and Luis Ortiz are for now virtual locks to be added to the 40-man at some point, while the aforementioned outfield options have a shot to change that part of the roster.
Of the Orioles’ top prospects, the biggest wild card in terms of future 40-man depth is probably Ryan Mountcastle. His bat should get him to 40-man and eventually the majors, but there have been questions about where he will play long term. He is being developed as a third baseman for now, so it is safest to factor him into future plans for the infield, but an eventual move to the outfield (perhaps left field) should not be completely dismissed.
A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, and Loyola University; Spedden has previously spent time in the Washington Nationals organization as a videographer for the Hagerstown Suns. As a blogger, Spedden is an Editor / Writer for the Suns fan club. Additionally, he contributes to The Nats Blog as a prospect writer, and Ballpark Digest. For BSL, Spedden covers the Orioles Minor Leagues.