The Orioles must set their 40-man roster by midnight Tuesday. They currently have 39 players on it. Two minor league players who may well be added are second baseman Jonathan Schoop and left-handed reliever Mike Belfiore.
Players not on the 40-man roster are eligible to be drafted by another major league club on Dec. 6 at the winter meetings. Teams must generally protect players who’ve been in the organization for three years.
Last year, Ryan Flaherty was drafted from the Chicago Cubs and had to stay with the organization for the entire season .
The Orioles could add additional minor leaguers to their roster, but they’d have to remove some current players on it. Candidates to be removed are catcher Luis Exposito, first baseman Joe Mahoney, second baseman Omar Quintanilla and outfielder Steve Pearce.
While the Orioles are occupied with busy work, the four other teams in the American League East seem to be busier.
Two of the four, Boston and Toronto, have new managers. John Farrell moved from the Blue Jays to the Red Sox, and on Tuesday, Toronto re-hired John Gibbons who managed the team from 2004-08.
When Gibbons was fired, he was replaced by another former Blue Jays manager, Cito Gaston. Reportedly, the Jays approached Bobby Cox, who managed the team in the 1980s about coming out of retirement. They obviously have a thing about former managers.
The Red Sox are trying to forget about the Bobby Valentine era. The one-year was remarkable for its rockiness, even by Boston standards. Farrell, a former Red Sox pitching coach, is supposed to bring back an era of good feeling after the team lost their most games since 1965.
Boston will be aggressive in its pursuit of free agents, though none have signed there yet.
Tampa Bay is deciding what to do with its payroll. Even with a superb starting staff, the Rays didn’t make the playoffs. They don’t draw well at Tropicana Field and may not be able to sign James Shields and David Price to long-term deals.
Both would be most attractive commodities on the trade market. There’s also talk they could try and deal two of their younger starters Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore for some hitting. Neither is as accomplished as Shields or Price, but both could bring back a lot in return.
Meanwhile the Yankees are supposedly trying to trim their payroll to $189 million. They’d like to re-sign ancient free agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda and outfielder Raul Ibanez, who the Orioles would like to forget about. Ibanez hit two home runs in Game 3 of the Division Series.
The Orioles supposedly had some interest in Ibanez a year ago, but were told he wasn’t interested in them.
The Yankees have made no progress on solving their A-Rod problem. The once great superstar who was benched during the postseason, has five more years left on his mammoth contract. He also has a no-trade clause. Unless the Marlins want to take on part of his salary, and he’s agreeable to moving, Rodriguez isn’t going anywhere.
After Miami’s salary dump, it’s highly unlikely that A-Rod will agree to leave New York.