Baltimore Orioles: How does the bullpen play out?
With the likes of Britton not available for potentially the first half of the season, how does the Baltimore Orioles’ bullpen cycle through? Can we assume that Brad Brach is the closer? Who sets up? Those are all questions that will need to be answered.
For starters, my personal opinion is that yes…Brad Brach is the closer going into spring training. And while many fans lament the Orioles’ fortunes in not being able to get a deal done with Machado and Britton’s injury, remember that Brach was considered trade bait at the winter meetings. Imagine where the team would be had they pulled the trigger on a trade including Brach or Darren O’Day, only to find that they’d be in a spot where those pieces were direly needed.
Speaking of O’Day, I suspect that he’ll slide into the setup role. Keep in mind that at various points when Britton was injured last year, those two represented the back end of the bullpen. And they were fairly successful. (In games at least where the O’s were leading.) While losing Britton is tough, you don’t lose as much as you think with those two playing those roles.
The middle relief is a bit more of a question mark. My personal opinion is that the likes of Mychael Givens and Donny Hart will play major roles in those slots. The Orioles really like both of them, and I don’t see a scenario where they don’t play a huge role in middle relief. But you never know.
Obviously we don’t know what types of deals are made which could bring other relievers to Baltimore. And we don’t know how spring training shakes out. The Orioles under Showalter have a grand tradition of allowing players to play their way onto the roster in Grapefruit League play. Time will tell.
And with that, I’m off to Florida for a few days. I’ll still be writing this column during my stay, however it’ll just be from a much more tropical climate. You know…sun, surf, and ocean spray. Pretty much everything you can get in Ocean City in June or July. But the calendar says December – which is why I’m headed to Miami!