July 26: The Orioles announced that Lester went unclaimed on waivers and has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Norfolk. He’ll remain with the organization but is no longer on the 40-man roster.
July 19: The Orioles announced they’ve designated corner infielder/outfielder Josh Lester for assignment. The move clears a 40-man roster spot for Shintaro Fujinami, who has officially been acquired from Oakland.
Baltimore signed Lester to a minor league contract over the winter. The left-handed hitter had debuted with two MLB games for the Tigers last season after seven-plus years in the minors. Baltimore selected his contract in early June and has gotten him into 11 more MLB contests. He has collected four hits (all singles) and a walk in 23 plate appearances.
The 29-year-old has spent the rest of the season with the O’s top farm team in Norfolk. His .273/.326/.504 batting line over 292 plate appearances is around league average in a very offense-oriented International League. Lester can bounce around between the corner positions but is more of a bat-first player.
Baltimore will trade him or put him on waivers within the next week. Detroit successfully ran Lester through outright waivers at the start of last offseason. If he goes unclaimed again, he’d have the ability to test minor league free agency as a player with multiple career outrights.