Much has been made – yes, by me as well as others – on the
The way I see it,
There's an outside shot he could be the fourth starter. Or even the third starter.
I know, it's confusing. Stay with me.
The Orioles would like to keep 23-year-old lefty T.J. McFarland, but he must stay on the roster all season or be offered back to the Cleveland Indians.
McFarland, though he is starting for the first time this spring today and has done it throughout his career in the minors, fits best right now as a reliever on the big league roster. It's so much easier to pick his spots there.
The bullpen, however, is currently set with seven relievers. As we reported Sunday, the Orioles are contacting teams about potentially dealing veteran right-hander
But there are other ways to keep McFarland if no trade of Ayala is made.
One is to send either Arrieta or
The other possibility is if the Orioles have to put a pitcher on the disabled list. The only real candidate is
Tillman seems pain free and has been pitching in minor league games, building up his strength. He’s up to four innings and 60-plus pitches after Sunday’s outing at Twin Lakes Park. The sense is he will be fine for the first week of the season.
But if he were to be placed on the DL, that would open up a spot for McFarland. And, really, a fifth starter is needed only once – on April 5 – in the first 19 days of the season. Perhaps Matusz could take that one, and then head back to the 'pen after that.
The next time the fifth starter is needed is April 21. By then the Orioles should have a better feel of their club (and McFarland). Someone could be sent down to make room for a Tillman (or an Arrieta/Matusz if they were demoted in the one scenario).
One other thing to consider: It’s possible Tillman or Arrieta could pitch the third game of the season – an afternoon contest at the
Because there is an off day April 9, Gonzalez could come back on regular rest as the No. 3 starter and the other guy could get six days' rest and pitch as the No. 4 on April 11.
The only problem, of course, is that after the Orioles leave