Pitchers and catchers don't report to spring training for another month yet, but the benefits of the Orioles' move from Fort Lauderdale to Sarasota all already becoming clear. Earlier this week, the O's announced their list of Spring Training invites: twelve players in all, including injury-prone third baseman Scott Moore.
In past years, the O's had to cram their major league camp with as many warm bodies as possible; the minor league facility was 200 miles away in Sarasota. Since they couldn't just walk across the street and grab a few spare players for a split-squad game or a long road trip to Jupiter, the big league camp was packed with a rogue's gallery of has-beens, never-will-bes, and whosits. Last year, the O's had 71 guys in Fort Lauderdale. As in a 40-man roster plus 31. Yikes.
So now we don't have to scramble to figure out who the heck Scott Chiasson and Craig Brazell are (yes, they were actually non-roster invitees in 2009), nor do we have to worry that they'll go north with the team due to some horrible clerical error. Welcome to Ed Smith Stadium, you crazy Orioles.