The Orioles have announced that right-hander Edgmer Escalona has rejected his outright assignment and elected free agency instead.
Escalona, 27, signed a Major League deal with the O’s this offseason despite lacking a significant Major League track record. He opened the season on the 60-day disabled list as he recovered from an impingement in his right shoulder but was activated and began pitching for Triple-A Norfolk in late May.
Curiously, after making three relief appearances, the Orioles transitioned Escalona to the Tides’ rotation, where he made the first three starts of his professional career. All 262 of his minor league appearances and all 70 of his Major League appearances had come out of the bullpen prior to that point.
Escalona didn’t fare particularly well in the Norfolk rotation, and he leaves the Orioles’ organization with a 6.10 ERA in 20 2/3 innings. He struck out 14 batters in that time and showed solid command, yielding only five walks.
Prior to his time with the Orioles organization, Escalona had spent his entire career with the Rockies. In exactly 100 innings at the Major League level, he has a 4.50 ERA with 6.4 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 36.7 percent ground-ball rate. Escalona’s strong 94.2 mph average fastball velocity from 2012-13 likely enticed the Orioles. That marked a significant uptick in his velocity from 2010-11, but unfortunately for the Rockies, the increased velocity also came with a 5.80 ERA in 68 1/3 innings of work, which likely led to his departure from the Rockies organization.