Orioles manager Buck Showalter had studiously avoided showing his cards before the mandated deadline at 10:00am this morning. Though he assured the media that there would be no surprises for the players, the Orioles ALDS roster raises a few eyebrows for the rest of us.
The real surprise here is that Ubaldo Jimenez has made the playoff roster. This would have seemed completely impossible a month or so ago, but Jimenez has proved himself to be at least marginally useful in September – particularly when he struck out the side with a runner on second base against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 28, 2014.
So Jimenez makes the cut. Who’s missing?
Most notably, Brian Matusz will sit out the ALDS, as Showalter is going only with two late-inning lefties in the bullpen. T.J. McFarland is also off the roster, but that does not constitute a surprise.
Regarding position players, the addition of Jimenez to the roster (going with 11 pitchers instead of 10) means there is no room for speedster Quintin Berry. Whereas this may not constitute a real “surprise,” it shows a difference in the construction of this roster in comparison to the Kansas City Royals who used speed to help (literally) steal the AL Wild Card game.
It is also surprising that Jimmy “Stone Hands” Paredes made the roster. His defensive lapses at third base caused the Orioles to waste a 40-man roster spot on Alexi Casilla for a meaningless game down the stretch. None of that should appear complimentary, which makes Paredes’ presence on the ALDS roster a bit of a head scratcher. It’s possible that Showalter wants left-handed hitting off the bench, since the team is already without Chris Davis. Or, that Paredes has compromising pictures of his manager. We’re not sure which is more likely.
With these questions answered, Orioles fans have nothing left to distract themselves from the quiet anxiety that looms before the Orioles’ 5:37pm game time. All that remains now is to see whether this roster can take down a talented Detroit Tigers club in a best-of-five format. Buck Showalter’s “fourth season” has officially begun, and he’s told us which guys he likes.