The Orioles announced they’ve claimed reliever Bryan Baker off waivers from the Blue Jays. The 26-year-old made his big league debut in September, tossing a scoreless inning during a win over the A’s.
Baker’s big league outing was the briefest cup of coffee, but he showed a live arm, averaging just shy of 95 MPH on his fastball. Even more appealing is his Triple-A track record, as he earned that late-season look with a stellar year for the Jays’ top affiliate. The righty tossed 41 1/3 innings across 39 appearances with the Bisons, pitching to a 1.31 ERA while striking out a strong 28.9% of batters faced.
The knock on Baker throughout his time in the minors has been spotty control. His 10.2% walk percentage in Triple-A this past season wasn’t much higher than the major league average for relievers, but Baker’s walk totals from 2018-19 were significantly more alarming. The O’s will take a no-cost flier to see if he can sustain this year’s control improvements and settle in as a useful option in a wide open bullpen.
Baker still has a pair of minor league option years remaining, so the front office can freely move him between Baltimore and Triple-A Norfolk for the next couple seasons so long as he sticks on the 40-man roster. The claim brings the Orioles’ 40-man tally up to 32, while the Jays’ roster now sits at 33.
Robert Murray of FanSided reported the move shortly before the team announcement.