The Orioles will soon face roster decisions on left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada and right-hander Jair Jurrjens, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports. If all goes well in Wada's extended Spring Training game today, the Orioles can send him on a minor league rehab assignment for as many as 30 days. Wada's contract — a two-year, $8.15MM pact — stipulates that he cannot be optioned to the minors without his consent.
Wada has yet to appear in a game for the Orioles since signing that contract prior to the 2012 season. He made just one appearance for the O's at Triple-A before being diagnosed with a torn UCL and undergoing Tommy John surgery. Prior to the signing, Wada was coming off a two-year stretch in which he posted a 2.29 ERA in 354 innings in Japan.
The Orioles could consider a relief role for Wada, but the team already has three left-handers in Troy Patton, Brian Matusz and T.J. McFarland. Patton has drawn trade interest, according to Kubatko, but there's no indication that the Orioles would move him — especially before ascertaining that McFarland can succeed over the course of a full season. McFarland, a Rule 5 pick, has allowed a .318/.348/.545 batting line to opposing lefties thus far.
Further complicating matters is the fact that Jurrjens has a June 15 opt-out clause in his minor league contract. Jurrjens has posted a 2.62 ERA, 5.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in seven starts spanning 44 2/3 innings for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate thus far.
The O's are currently deploying a rotation that consists of Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel, Chris Tillman, Steve Johnson and Freddy Garcia. Johnson will make his first start Saturday due to the fact that Miguel Gonzalez hit the disabled list with a blister on his thumb. Obviously, that ailment won't keep Gonzalez out for a significant period of time. Garcia seems to be the odd man out, but Kubatko notes that he's pitched well in both of his starts for Baltimore aside from a one-inning hiccup in each.
Beyond all the names listed by Kubatko, the Orioles also have intriguing arms in Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton currently pitching at Triple-A. Each former top prospect has looked sharp at Norfolk, but neither has a clear-cut rotation spot at the Major League level.
It's a bit early in the season to be working out significant trades — and this is just my speculation — but the Phillies have made it known that they are considering outside candidates to replace Roy Halladay in their rotation. Perhaps the two sides could line up as trade partners sometime in the next month.