The Orioles placed Rule 5 outfielder Aneury Tavarez on outright waivers Wednesday, clearing up a lot of the uncertainty with the team's roster in the process.
The Orioles have placed Rule 5 outfielder AneuryTavarez on outright waivers, according to industry sources.
The waiver period on Tavarez ends Friday. At that point, either another team has claimed him or he returns to his original club, the Boston Red Sox. The latter would allow the Orioles to work out a trade to keep Tavarez in the organizationbut not on the major league roster.
While on outright waivers, a player can still play, as Tavarez did when he entered Wednesday’s 15-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays as a defensive replacement.
In the meantime, 28 other clubs will have the chance to claim Tavarez, and in doing so will have to carry him on their 25-man roster for the entire season.
The Red Sox have a static major league outfield featuring young stars Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and MookieBetts, but are thin in outfield depth in their high minors, meaning Tavarez could be of value to them.
If the Orioles acquire him back from Boston, he can be sent to the minors without any Rule 5 stipulations.
Tavarez had a solid spring, hitting .292 with a home run and a team-high eight stolen bases. While the Orioles have seen many of the tools that led them to select him in December, the roster situation has changed drastically since then.
A player as raw as Tavarez simply can’t fit on a roster that’s both platoon-heavy and rich in outfield depth, especially with the emergence of nonroster free agent Craig Gentry and Trey Mancini as outfield options. None of them were in the outfield plans in December, and the team hadn’t yet acquired Seth Smith, either.
Tavarez' presence was seen as one of the main obstacles to keeping one of the hottest bats they've had all spring — be it Mancini or Gentry. Had the Orioles liked him enough to keep him and were willing to use an Opening Day roster spot to stash him, it could have meant one of those two was left off the roster.
Gentry and Mancini have had tremendous springs. Mancini hit .339 with three home runs in 29 games while making himself more versatile and taking up right field. Gentry is batting .337 in the Grapefruit League to go along with seven steals.
Now, with Tavarez on his way off the roster, the Orioles have flexibility both in their roster.
They could carry four starters, a full complement of seven relievers, and not have to make any painful cuts at the end of spring training.
Another team claiming Tavarez or the Orioles returning him to the Red Sox will also create a 40-man roster spot, which will be valuable as teams churn the back end of their rosters at the end of spring training.
Further complicating the roster picture entering the final weekend before the season begins is the status of left-hander Wade Miley, who has pitched just 13 innings in spring training and could still need to be built up before making a regular season start.
The team's other Rule 5 pick, outfielder Anthony Santander, is likely to start the season on the disabled list. Santander played designated hitter all spring as he recuperated from offseason shoulder surgery, but elbow inflammation cropped up on March 13 and he hasn't played since.
Time spent on the disabled list does not count toward the player's Rule 5 requirements.