Diving into the depths: Baltimore Orioles

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Baltimore Orioles
Rotation
1. Kevin Millwood
2. Jeremy Guthrie
3. Brad Bergesen
4. Brian Matusz
5. Chris Tillman
6. David Hernandez
7. Jason Berken
8. Mark Hendrickson
9. Jake Arrieta
10. Troy Patton
11. Alfredo Simon
12. Brandon Erbe
13. Zach Britton
Barring the addition of Braden Looper or another inning eater, the 22-year-old Matusz and 21-year-old Tillman will head into spring training as clear favorites for rotation spots. Tillman, though, is the more vulnerable of the two. He’s not as polished as Matusz, and he’s not as good of a bet for this year.
Bullpen
1. Mike Gonzalez
2. Jim Johnson
3. Koji Uehara
4. Mark Hendrickson
5. Matt Albers
6. Cla Meredith
7. Kam Mickolio
8. Alberto Castillo
9. David Hernandez
10. Dennis Sarfate
11. Alfredo Simon
12. Armando Gabino
13. Ross Wolf
14. Mike Hinckley
15. Chris George
16. Wilfido Perez
17. Luis Lebron
Sarfate is currently on waivers. He’ll be back to battle for a bullpen spot if he clears.
I like Uehara in the bullpen and think he’ll be a valuable setup man. Everyone after him is a significant question mark, but Mickolio could step up and become a big contributor over the course of the year.


Catcher
1. Matt Wieters
2. Chad Moeller
3. Craig Tatum
4. Michel Hernandez
First base
1. Garrett Atkins
2. Ty Wigginton
3. Michael Aubrey
4. Rhyne Hughes
5. Brandon Snyder
6. Scott Moore
Second base
1. Brian Roberts
2. Justin Turner
3. Robert Andino
4. Scott Moore
Third base
1. Miguel Tejada
2. Ty Wigginton
3. Garrett Atkins
4. Justin Turner
5. Josh Bell
Shortstop
1. Cesar Izturis
2. Robert Andino
3. Pedro Florimon Jr.
The Orioles should have bypassed Atkins if they didn’t want him to play third base, but maybe he’ll be OK. If not, Snyder could take over during the second half of the season. Likewise, Bell could be ready at third come August.
Left field
1. Nolan Reimold
2. Felix Pie
3. Luke Scott
4. Luis Montanez
5. Jeff Salazar
Center field
1. Adam Jones
2. Felix Pie
3. Jeff Salazar
4. Matt Angle
5. Lou Montanez
Right field
1. Nick Markakis
2. Felix Pie
3. Lou Montanez
4. Jeff Salazar
Designated hitter
1. Luke Scott
2. Ty Wigginton
3. Michael Aubrey
4. Rhyne Hughes
The outfield is awfully nice, especially with Pie back as a fourth outfielder. There was talk that he could be traded for pitching help. The bench should be made up of Pie, Wigginton, Andino and Moeller.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.