Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com analyzes the Orioles’ use of their minor-league system in recent years. The club has increasingly drawn upon players right out of Double-A Bowie, notes Kubatko, and it seems that’s somewhat by design. Skipper Buck Showalter says that top affiliates are increasingly utilized “almost like major-league taxi squads,” not as steps on the ladder to the majors. While every player’s situation must be handled on its own merits, says Showalter, the club is obviously generally comfortable with moving talented players right past the Triple-A level.
Here’s more on the O’s and their division…
- The Orioles, like other teams, have plenty of players on hand. But the club doesn’t seem to have much inclination to back off of righty Dylan Bundy, as Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. Though he has had significant past health problems and is already 60 innings past his prior career-high from a year ago, Showalter says the key hurler is feeling good and throwing well. Though Bundy’s last two starts have ended poorly and the O’s are all but buried in the postseason race, the skipper says it’s “not at that point yet” where Bundy needs to be shut down for the rest of the year.
- There’ll be plenty of roster needs for the Blue Jays to address this offseason. As Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes, the bullpen will be no exception, though manager John Gibbons says he feels good about the unit as a whole with the season winding down. That includes some optionable arms, as Nicholson-Smith explains in ticking through the hurlers on hand. Among them is Dominic Leone, who spent fewer than 20 days in the minors this year (despite being optioned on four separate occasions) and therefore will come with another option season for the 2018 season.
- The Red Sox don’t have many important players slated to hit free agency next year, but veterans Eduardo Nunez and Mitch Moreland are among those on the cusp of the open market. Both say they’d like to return to Boston, however. For Nunez, as Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes, settling in with the Sox has been easy. It’s not clear, though, whether there’ll be enough playing time to warrant pursuit of a player who’ll be in some demand. Chris Mason of CNHI Sports Boston writes about Moreland’s case. The first bagger says he has “loved it” with the Red Sox, though he’s focused on the season at the moment. Unsurprisingly, the sides haven’t discussed a new contract.
- While bullpens have long plagued teams constructed by president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, it seems he has built a compelling unit this year with the Red Sox, as Evan Drellich of CSNNE.com writes. While everything hasn’t worked out as hoped, at least not initially, the Sox have kept moving forward and have now compiled a strong group as the club nears an AL East crown.
- One possible piece of the Red Sox relief core, long-time starter David Price, figures to be one of the most closely watched players of the postseason. As Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes, while there have been some issues during Price’s tenure, he still has the support of the clubhouse. The veteran hurler could play a fascinating role in Boston’s hopeful march through the postseason.