The Orioles have made a pair of trades, according to a team announcement. They’ve acquired right-hander Matt Wotherspoon from the Yankees and left-hander Jason Wheeler from the Dodgers, surrendering international signing bonus slots for both players. Wotherspoon and Wheeler will report to Triple-A Norfolk.
Trading international money for players is nothing new for the Orioles, who took that route before Sunday to acquire the likes of Damien Magnifico, Paul Fry and Alex Katz earlier this season. Their aversion to spending on the international market has led to criticism from Baseball America’s Ben Badler, who laid into O’s ownership back in April for their “antiquated” approach.
The 25-year-old Wotherspoon has mostly served as a reliever in the minors since the Yankees chose him in the 34th round of the 2014 draft. He debuted at the Triple-A level last season and has been quite effective since, having logged a 2.10 ERA, 6.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 34 1/3 innings.
Unlike Wotherspoon, Wheeler comes with major league experience. An eighth-rounder of the Twins in 2011, the 26-year-old made his debut earlier this season with Minnesota. He fared poorly over three innings, though, yielding three earned runs on six hits and four walks, with no strikeouts. The Twins then traded him to the Dodgers on June 2, but Los Angeles designated him for assignment on June 18. Wheeler pitched exclusively with their Triple-A affiliate, recording a 10.38 ERA over 8 2/3 innings. Overall, Wheeler owns a 4.74 ERA, 6.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 281 Triple-A frames and 51 appearances (48 starts).
The Dodgers and Yankees both began Sunday, the opening of the 2017-18 international signing period, with $4.75MM available. LA is unable to sign anyone for more than $300K, however, while New York ate into its total by agreeing to deals with Venezuelan outfielder Everson Pereira and shortstop Roberto Chirinos for a combined $2.4MM. The Yankees are also likely to sign Dominican shortstop Ronny Rojas in August for a projected $1.05MM.