The Orioles have agreed to a minor-league deal with second baseman Johnny Giavotella, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). He can earn $1.1MM annually at the MLB level in the deal, which also includes incentives.
Presumably, Giavotella will compete for a bench spot in Spring Training. If he fails to make the roster, he’ll have a chance to opt out at the end of camp (March 27th). If he ends up opening the year in the minors, and isn’t later promoted, he can also request his release on July 31st.
Giavotella, 29, spent the better portion of the past two seasons as the Angels’ near-regular at second. Though he put up a serviceable .272/.318/.375 batting line in 2015, however, he fell off last year. After 367 plate appearances of .260/.287/.376 hitting, the Halos outrighted Giavotella, who has generally rated as a somewhat below-average defensive performer. Though he hit well in his brief stay at Triple-A, he wasn’t recalled when rosters expanded. Because he had been outrighted earlier in the year, Giavotella was eligible to take free agency after the season.
For the O’s, the move bolsters their infield depth with little in the way of a commitment. It’s possible that Giavotella could push Ryan Flaherty for the team’s utility job, though the left-handed-hitting Flaherty makes for a more natural pairing with the team’s righty bats.