The Orioles designated third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez for assignment, according to an announcement from the team. The move brings the Orioles down to the necessary 26 players, the deadline for which is fast approaching. As Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com notes, the move also brings the Orioles’ 40-man roster down to 39 players.
Gutierrez, 27, was acquired by the Orioles from the Royals last July for cash considerations after Kansas City had designated him for assignment. He joined the O’s in late August and quickly became the team’s regular third baseman – more of an indictment of Baltimore’s lack of MLB talent at the position than an endorsement of Gutierrez’s abilities. This year, Ramon Urias has been drawing the bulk of the Orioles’ starts at third base.
A 2013 amateur signing by the Nationals out of the Dominican Republic, Gutierrez joined the Royals five years later in a trade involving veteran reliever Kelvin Herrera. He emerged as a 40-grade, big league capable prospect, known mostly for solid third base defense and a strong arm. Never really having shown an above average bat in the high minors, it’s not a big surprise that Gutierrez sports just a 65 wRC+ in 419 big league plate appearances to date. Since Gutierrez is out of minor league options, the Orioles didn’t have the ability to send him to the minors without exposing him to waivers.