The Orioles have selected the contract of reliever César Valdez, per a club announcement. To create space on the active and 40-man rosters, outfielder DJ Stewart has been placed on the 60-day injured list due to a right knee osteochondral defect.
Valdez is back with the big league club after being outrighted off the 40-man roster last month. The changeup specialist began the year in a high-leverage role, picking up eight saves while working to a 1.42 ERA over the first month of the season. He ran into some disastrous results from May onward, though, posting a 7.44 ERA in his last 32 2/3 frames before he was bumped from the roster.
Assigned to Triple-A Norfolk after he cleared waivers, the veteran has earned his way back with a strong showing. Valdez has tossed 12 2/3 innings of three-run ball with the Tides, racking up ground-balls at a massive 64.7% clip in that brief minor league showing. The 36-year-old still hasn’t accrued enough service time to be arbitration eligible, so the O’s could bring him back next season for scarcely more than the league minimum salary if they feel it worthwhile to devote him a 40-man roster spot all winter.
Stewart will undergo a cleanup procedure on his injured knee, manager Brandon Hyde told reporters (including Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com). He’s expected to be full-go for Spring Training in 2022. The 27-year-old picked up 318 plate appearances this season but posted below-average numbers on both sides of the ball. Stewart hit .204/.324/.374 while rating poorly as a defensive corner outfielder. As with Valdez, he’s yet to reach arbitration, so the O’s could keep him in the fold for almost no financial cost if they’re willing to keep him on the roster over the winter.