Orioles: Making sense of today's roster moves
The Orioles moved six players onto the 40-man roster today in anticipation of Friday's deadline for submitting their protected list to MLB. The O's added pitchers Brandon Erbe and Luis Lebron and infielders Josh Bell, Brandon Snyder, Rhyne Hughes and Pedro Florimon, bringing the roster to a full 40.
That leaves a few recognizable players exposed to the Rule 5 Draft -- including shortstop Blake Davis and recently acquired pitcher Steve Johnson -- and leaves room to question why certain journeyman-type players are still on the 40-man. The Orioles kept pitcher Chris Waters, for instance, even though he didn't seem to be on the radar when the Orioles needed help at several points last season.
There is a plausible explanation: If there are some players still on the 40-man who seem more expendable than some who were left unprotected, keep in mind that somebody is going to have to be moved off the roster for every player acquired or signed during the offseason. If the entire roster was filled out with young players the team does not want to risk losing on waivers, that would create a disincentive to upgrade the roster through free agency.
The team instead is gambling that -- in the case of Johnson -- no major league club is going to pick up a pitcher who has never played above Double-A and keep him at the major league level for the entire 2010 season. That's probably a fair bet.