The Orioles have agreed to a minor league contract with first baseman Jesus Montero, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (via Twitter). Montero, formerly one of the top prospects in all of baseball, will open the season in the midst of a 50-game suspension, which he received in September (as a member of the Blue Jays organization) after testing positive for a banned stimulant (dimethylbutylamine).
Now 27 years old, Montero rated as the No. 3 prospect in the game according to both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus prior to the 2011 season. However, his defense behind the plate was long somewhat of a question mark, and he’s moved to first base since that time in part due to his large frame (6’3″, 235 pounds). Montero’s bat was always supposed to be his ticket to regular work in the Majors, but he underwhelmed in parts of four seasons with Seattle after being traded from the Yankees to the Mariners in the 2011 Michael Pineda deal. In those four years with the M’s, Montero batted a lackluster .247/.285/.383 in the Majors. He’s continued to hit well at the Triple-A level (.305/.357/.491 career), but at this point his best chance at making the Orioles’ roster upon completion of his suspension is as a right-handed-hitting bench bat that can spend some time at DH and occasionally spell Chris Davis at first base.