The Baltimore Orioles’ Bullpen Takes Shape for Opening Day
In recent weeks the Baltimore Orioles have been dealt discouraging news surrounding their pitching staff. Free agent acquisition Mychal Givens has been dealing with soreness in his left knee and appears to be headed to the IL. The right-handed reliever pitched for both the Cubs and the Mets last year and posted an ERA of 3.38 in 61.1 IP. Originally drafted by the Orioles, Givens was traded to the Rockies in 2020. Givens is expected to make his return to the Birds’ bullpen this year, but it seems his second debut will be postponed for the time being. When he does make his eventual return, Givens has the rare opportunity to play alongside one of the players he was traded for: Terrin Vavra.
Dillon Tate had somewhat of a career renaissance last year with an ERA of 3.05 in 73.2 IP. After Jorge Lopez was dealt to the Twins, Tate was promoted to set-up man as Felix Bautista took the role of closer. He finished the year with 16 holds, five saves, and 0.991 WHIP, and was rewarded with a one-year $1.5 million extension by the O’s. Unfortunately, Tate has been dealing with a forearm strain throughout Spring, and will likely be out until mid-May.
To remedy their injury woes, the Orioles traded for LHP Danny Coloumbe from the Twins in exchange for cash. The 33-year old Coulombe is a career journeyman who was originally drafted by the Dodgers back in 2012. Coulombe has an ERA of 3.92 in just 192.2 IP over his entire career. Unsurprisingly, the biggest concern for Coulombe is health; he has managed to pitch over 50 innings just once in his career, and only managed 12.1 IP in 2022. Coulombe projects as a solid middle reliever who will help bolster the lackluster depth of the O’s bullpen – provided he stays healthy
In a corresponding move, Andrew Politi was returned to the Boston Red Sox. Politi, who was the O’s first pick in the Rule 5 Draft back in December, cleared waivers and was reacquired for $50,000 by Boston. Politi making the opening day roster was always a long shot, but it appeared possible following the injuries to Givens and Tate. However, the Orioles’ front office ultimately decided that his production was easily replaceable by Coulombe.
Ultimately I think the bullpen on Opening Day will consist of Cionel Perez, Bryan Baker, Keegan Akin, Austin Voth, Danny Coulombe, Mike Baumann, and Felix Bautista. Once Givens and Tate return, I fully expect two out of Akin, Coulombe, and Baumann to be DFA’d.