The battle for starting spots in the Birds' rotation will set up a fascinating war for a plot in an already deep bullpen.
Looking at the Orioles depth chart, this team already has capable arms in Pedro Strop, Troy Patton, Luis Ayala, Darren O’Day and closer Jim Johnson.
This will leave just three or four spots for battling starters to break with the 25-man roster out of spring training.
I project Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta and Tommy Hunter will have the inside track at the bullpen. All three of these guys performed well in this role in 2012.
This may leave Steve Johnson in a precarious situation. Johnson pitched a perfect 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 12 games last season.
However, should Johnson outpitch Jurrjens, it may very well be Jurrjens that lands in the pen, is shipped to Triple-A or Tomahawk-chopped altogether.
But do not tell any of this to rookie phenom Dylan Bundy. This guy will be gunning for everyone come spring training.
I project Bundy will outpitch Arrieta or Hunter to steal the final spot in the Orioles bullpen. Matusz has one key going for him in that he is a lefty on a team that boasts a ton of right-handers.
Making the final bullpen decision, T.J. McFarland and Zach Britton will all be sent back to Triple A.
But if Britton pitches well, Bundy will go back for some extra seasoning.
Not an easy situation for Buck Showalter and Co. by any means. But unlike many teams in baseball, the Orioles have a tremendous amount of depth that will make them sharp AL East contenders in 2013.
Note: Per Roch Kubatko (MASN), Tsuyoshi Wada is not expected to return to full-throttle action until May or June.