AL Notes: Almanzar, Athletics, Blue Jays

After a busy transactional day yesterday, here are some American League notes that we did not quite get to:

  • The Orioles are trying to decide what to do with Rule 5 pick Michael Almanzar, who looks to be unlikely to make the club's Opening Day roster. One possibility is a trade of the rights to the former Red Sox third base prospect, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. But that scenario could be complicated by the fact that Almanzar is dealing with a knee problem that will require an MRI, as MLB.com's Adam Berry reports. Of course, if Almanzar were to require a DL trip to start the year, it would offer Baltimore some added time to sort things out. Manager Buck Showalter said the team would not use the injury as pretext, however, emphasizing that Almanzar would only go to the DL if the injury required it.
  • The Athletics raised some eyebrows by spending significant cash on relievers this offseason, taking on the salaries of Jim Johnson ($10MM) and Luke Gregerson ($5.065MM) while committing $7MM to Eric O'Flaherty over two years. For the notoriously tight-fisted, analytical ballclub, this spending pattern led to an obvious question: what edge had GM Billy Beane found this time? As Yahoo's Jeff Passan reports, the explanation may be fairly simple. With limited payroll to add to a ready-to-win roster, the club simply got the best "bang for its buck (Beane's words) while avoiding long-term commitments. Of course, as Passan notes, the team also knows that allowing Johnson to rack up the saves will result in arbitration savings on in-house relievers like Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle.
  • With just days remaining until the deadline to settle on an Opening Day roster, the Blue Jays still have several roster battles taking place. As Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes, there still seems to be plenty of wiggle room in the final composition of the Toronto club. The rotation has two spots in play given J.A. Happ's struggles, the middle infield mix could be impacted by the recent injury to Jose Reyes, the backup catching situation is still not finalized, and the fourth outfielding spot is suddenly open to a last-minute competition between Moises Sierra and the newly-added Matt Tuiasosopo. Of course, as Nicholson-Smith notes, options will play a big role in the final determinations and no MLB roster is static throughout the season.

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