The Orioles announced Monday that they’ve signed catcher Nick Ciuffo and righty Claudio Custodio to minor league contracts. Baltimore also confirmed its previously reported minor league deals with lefty Fernando Abad and right-hander Conner Greene.
Ciuffo, 25, was the No. 21 overall draft pick by the Rays back in 2013. He never graded out as a top prospect but made it to the big leagues with Tampa Bay in 2018 and 2019, hitting a combined .186/.250/.279 in a tiny sample of 50 plate appearances. Had he been healthy in 2019, he’d quite likely have gotten a longer opportunity to boost those numbers, but thumb surgery cost him 10 weeks of the season.
Ciuffo spent the 2020 season at the Rangers’ alternate training site but didn’t reach the Majors, where Robinson Chirinos, Jeff Mathis and Jose Trevino shouldered most of the workload before top prospect Sam Huff’s arrival. In seven minor league seasons, Ciuffo is a .250/.299/.379 hitter with a 45 percent caught-stealing rate. He’ll give the O’s some catching depth behind Chance Sisco and Pedro Severino, joining the recently outrighted Austin Wynns as a non-roster option in camp.
The 30-year-old Custodio once ranked near the back end of the Yankees’ top 30 prospects as an infielder, but he moved to the mound in 2015. Injury wiped out his 2017 campaign, and he obviously lost another year to the lack of a minor league season in 2020. Custodio spent 2019 in the Braves organization, where he pitched to a 2.48 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 in 83 1/3 innings between Class-A and Double-A.