Even with latest 40-man additions, Orioles can aim higher in rotation, infield | ANALYSIS

The Orioles’ 40-man roster got deeper Tuesday evening when Baltimore added a handful of its top prospects to protect them from being selected in next month’s Rule 5 draft.

But even with the likes of starting pitcher Grayson Rodriguez and shortstop Joey Ortiz in the fold, the Orioles could clearly still upgrade at both of those positions as the offseason continues. The free agency market features both premier aces and top-tier shortstops, and with Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias saying he expects the club to increase payroll and seek improvements throughout the winter, those remain target areas.

With left-hander John Means expected to miss the start of the season continuing his recovery from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, only one of the nine season-opening rotation candidates on Baltimore’s 40-man roster has pitched more than 150 innings in a professional season, with Austin Voth last eclipsing that mark in 2016 while in Triple-A. Excluding Rodriguez, baseball’s top pitching prospect who in June suffered a lat muscle strain that prevented a possible debut, each of the other eight set a career high for major league innings in 2022, led by Dean Kremer’s 125 1/3.

Each pitcher had stretches of success of varying lengths, but the group remains inexperienced overall. Even adding a talent of Rodriguez’s level leaves questions of depth and innings coverage, and although some of the top starters — notably Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodón — might come with durability questions, they more than make up for them with talent. Those players will come with steep price points, and it might prove more in the Orioles’ interests to acquire an arbitration-eligible starter from another organization through a trade.

Regardless of the method, additions to the rotation would be helpful to Baltimore’s desires to contend. It’s unclear how …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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