Baltimore Orioles – MLB Trade Rumors 2021-01-21T06:17:55Z WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Anthony Santander Has Drawn Trade Interest]]> 2021-01-20T00:38:03Z 2021-01-20T00:38:03Z Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander has drawn trade interest this winter, according to Roch Kubatko of However, as Kubatko suggests, that doesn’t necessarily mean Santander will go anywhere. The 26-year-old is coming off a highly productive season in which he batted .261/.315/.575 (130 wRC+) with 11 home runs, and he’s not scheduled to become a free agent until after 2024. Santander will earn a projected $1.7MM to $3MM in arbitration next season. All of that makes Santander an appealing trade candidate, but the Orioles could simply retain him as a building block.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles Re-Sign Thomas Eshelman]]> 2021-01-16T14:56:23Z 2021-01-16T14:40:41Z The Orioles have re-signed right-hander Thomas Eshelman to a minor league contract,’s Roch Kubatko reports (Twitter link).  Eshelman chose to become a free agent last month rather than accept an outright assignment to Baltimore’s Triple-A team.

In his second consecutive year of swingman work for the O’s, Eshelman posted a 3.89 ERA over 34 2/3 innings, starting four of his 10 outings.  He had only an 11.2 K%, continuing his near career-long trend of not missing many bats.  While Eshelman’s Statcast numbers aren’t anything to write home about, his return to the organization gives the Orioles another option as they figure out their pitching mix.  Eshelman’s ability to contribute a spot start is useful, particularly in a rotation that may feature several young hurlers who may still be building up their innings.

Of course, Eshelman is himself only 26 years old, and he was a second-round pick for the Astros in the 2015 draft.  He has a 4.22 ERA over 514 1/3 career innings in the minors (with the Orioles, Phillies, and Astros) to go along with his 5.22 ERA, 12.4 K%, and 6.5 BB% in 70 2/3 Major League innings with Baltimore.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: 1/15/21]]> 2021-01-16T03:42:52Z 2021-01-15T16:51:22Z The deadline to exchange arbitration figures is today at 1pm ET. As of this morning, there were 125 arbitration-eligible players who’d yet to agree to terms on their contract for the upcoming 2021 season. Arbitration is muddier than ever before thanks to the shortened 2020 schedule, which most believe will lead to record number of arb hearings this winter. Be that as it may, it’s still reasonable to expect dozens of contractual agreements to filter in over the next couple of hours.

We’ll highlight some of the more high-profile cases in separate posts with more in-depth breakdowns, but the majority of today’s dealings will be smaller-scale increases that don’t radically alter a team’s payroll or a player’s trade candidacy. As such, we’ll just run through most of today’s agreements in this post.

I’ve embedded MLBTR’s 2021 Arbitration Tracker in the post (those in the mobile app or viewing on mobile web will want to turn their phones sideways). Our tracker can be sorted by team, by service time and/or by Super Two status, allowing users to check the status on whichever groups of players they like. You can also check out Matt Swartz’s projected arbitration salaries for this year’s class, and we’ll do a quick sentence on each player’s agreement at the bottom of this post as well, with the most recent agreements sitting atop the list.

Today’s Agreements (chronologically, newest to oldest)

Read more

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 1/13/21]]> 2021-01-14T02:29:16Z 2021-01-14T02:29:16Z Let’s catch up on the latest minor moves from around the game …

  • Right-hander Branden Kline announced his retirement Wednesday on Instagram. Kline, a hard-throwing Maryland native, joined the Orioles as a second-round pick in 2012 and ranked as one of their most promising prospects early in his career. But four arm surgeries, including the Tommy John procedure Kline underwent in 2015, slowed him, and his injury issues kept him out of minor league action until 2018. Kline did rebound well enough to appear majors from 2019-20, pitching to a 5.48 ERA with a 20.2 strikeout percentage and a 10.8 walk percentage in 46 innings, but the Orioles outrighted him last fall.
  • If Kline’s retirement came surprisingly early, the opposite might be said of former MLB righty Manny Corpas. Panamanian journalist Aurelio Ortiz conveys Corpas’s decision to hang up his spikes, via Twitter. Though he’s far removed from his time in the majors — he last appeared in 2013 — the 38-year-old has until now continued to ply his trade in the indy ball and international ranks. Corpas wraps up his career with 374 1/3 frames of 4.14 ERA pitching at the game’s highest level.
  • Corner outfielder Dillon Thomas has an agreement with the Mariners, per Robert Murray of Fansided (Twitter link). The minor-league accord includes an invitation to participate in MLB Spring Training. Thomas, 28, is a former fourth-round pick who has only briefly reached the highest level of the minors. In 2019, he turned in a .265/.339/.434 slash over 504 Double-A plate appearances.
Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles Have MLB Offers Out To Starters]]> 2021-01-11T13:25:34Z 2021-01-11T13:25:34Z
  • The Orioles are looking to add to their rotation, with’s Roch Kubatko reporting that the team has “Major League offers on the table to multiple starters.” There was a general assumption that Baltimore might stick to just minor league contracts as it continues its rebuild process, yet offering guaranteed deals indicates that the O’s are planning to shop at a slightly higher tier, though these MLB offers are likely still relatively inexpensive. The Orioles’ current list of rotation candidates is short on big league experience, apart from veteran Alex Cobb and (with just over two years of service time) ace John Means.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Latest On Orioles’ Infield Plans]]> 2021-01-08T14:51:45Z 2021-01-08T14:28:56Z At the beginning of the offseason, Orioles general manager Mike Elias expressed a desire to add infield depth at different levels of the organization. Some specific players of interest in that pursuit have emerged.

    Baltimore has been in touch with representatives for free agent infielder Jonathan Villar, reports Roch Kubatko of The switch-hitting speedster spent part of 2018 and all of 2019 with the O’s. Villar hit .270/.338/.438 across 950 plate appearances in that time, popping 32 home runs and stealing 61 bases. Baltimore traded him to the Marlins in a salary-slashing move last offseason. The 29-year-old then slumped through a dreadful 2020 season between Miami and the Blue Jays. That’ll depress the first-time free agent’s market, with Villar almost certainly looking at a one-year deal for less than the $8.2MM arbitration salary the Orioles deemed too pricey last year.

    A handful of other infielders are also on Baltimore’s radar. The organization has varying levels of interest in Freddy GalvisEhire Adrianza and Daniel Robertson, Kubatko adds. Galvis has spent the past six seasons as a regular shortstop for the Phillies, Padres, Blue Jays and Reds. He’s a durable, reliable defender with a bit of power but significant on-base concerns. Adrianza and Robertson have spent most of their MLB careers in utility roles. All four potential targets are capable of playing shortstop. The Orioles have an obvious hole there after trading José Iglesias to the Angels. Additions at second base, on the other hand, don’t seem to be a target. Kubatko notes the team seems “inclined to use” waiver claim Yolmer Sánchez at the keystone.

    None of the players mentioned would come at particularly exorbitant costs. Elias downplayed the likelihood of Baltimore making a multi-year free agent splash at the outset of the offseason, and there’s no reason to believe that has changed. However, the Orioles could look to bring in multiple free agent infielders, per Kubatko- one on a single-year MLB contract and another on a minor-league arrangement.

    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Coaching Notes: Reds, Orioles]]> 2021-01-06T19:04:26Z 2021-01-06T18:59:51Z The Reds have named Bryan Conger their new minor league pitching coordinator, per Bobby Nightengale of the Enquirer (via Twitter). Conger himself announced his hiring on Twitter. Conger spent the last two seasons coaching in the Rangers’ organization. The former head coach at Tarleton State, Conger has a history of data-driven innovation that fits the Reds’ ethos. J.J. Cooper of Baseball America wrote this about Conger when the Rangers initially hired him in January of 2019: “Individualization has been a key part of Conger’s approach. Each pitcher at Tarleton State had an individualized throwing program designed specifically for that pitcher. Conger viewed it as his job to use data as much as possible to help customize everything they did for each pitcher.” As the minor league pitching coordinator, Conger will have a broader scope at his fingertips than back in his Division II days, but the Reds no doubt value his personal approach.

    • Conger joines the Driveline/Reds family that also includes 25-year-old assistant pitching coach Eric Jagers. The former University of Iowa southpaw found his way to Driveline as an amateur pitcher struggling to stay healthy. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome further stymied his pitching career, importuning Jagers to commit early to a career in coaching, writes Bobby Nightengale of The Enquirer. Writes Nightengale, “The result was a meteoric rise through the sport. In three years, Jagers went from an injured college pitcher to the Cincinnati Reds’ Assistant Pitching Coach. At 25 years old, he’s one of the youngest coaches on any Major League staff.” Jagers takes over for Caleb Cotham – just 33-years-old himself – who was named the Phillies’ pitching coach this offseason.
    • In Baltimore, Chris Holt attempted to clarify his role for the upcoming season during a recent Zoom call, notes Roch Kubatko of (via Twitter). Holt has been the Orioles’ Director of Pitching, but he will slide into the dugout this year as manager Brandon Hyde’s pitching coach. He’s keeping his original title, however, which presumably puts an awful lot on Holt’s plate. Holt has been preparing for this role switch for years, with the organization hoping that Holt could form a cohesive organizational philosophy that he himself would usher to the big leagues as some of their developing hurlers made it to the Show. That’s presumably where they are now, with a number of young pitchers like Dean Kremer, Keegan Akin, Bruce Zimmermann, Hunter Harvey, Michael Baumann, Zac Lowther, and Alexander Wells already on the 40-man roster. Top prospects Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall are both approaching the bigs as well, though both are likely to start 2021 in Double-A.


    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles' Sulser Back To Full Health]]> 2021-01-06T17:42:14Z 2021-01-06T15:51:19Z
  • The Orioles have reason to believe Cole Sulser can return to form as the guy they installed as their early-season closer in 2020, writes Roch Kubatko of The 30-year-old Sulser was a casualty of a roster crunch in Tampa, and the Orioles benefited by claiming him off waivers. The season started well for Sulser as he became a multi-inning weapon for manager Brandon Hyde, but in a freak accident at home, Sulser broke some toes on his right foot. It wasn’t enough of an injury to keep him from the diamond, but perhaps it should have been as he struggled with his command the rest of the way. Sulser finished with a 5.56 ERA/4.91 FIP/5.87 SIERA and an unsightly 17 percent walk rate. Back at full health, the Orioles expect Sulser to once again be a weapon for them out of the pen.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Yasiel Puig]]> 2021-01-05T04:55:06Z 2021-01-05T04:54:04Z Free-agent outfielder Yasiel Puig hasn’t played in the majors since 2019, but the league hasn’t forgotten about him. Several clubs – the Red Sox, Yankees, Astros, Marlins and Orioles – “appear to have varying levels of interest” in Puig, Mark Feinsand of tweets.

    After a largely successful career with the Dodgers, Reds and Cleveland from 2013-19, Puig looked like a surefire bet to land a guaranteed contract last offseason. But the former All-Star didn’t encounter as much serious interest as expected, and he didn’t find a deal until the Braves agreed to sign him in the middle of July – shortly before the truncated season was set to begin. However, the contract never became official because Puig tested positive for COVID-19 just a few days later. Considering how long it would have taken Puig to recover and get up to speed, it was seemingly too late for the Braves or another big league club to sign him before the year ended.

    Although last year was a lost season for Puig, he does appear to be an appealing buy-low type for MLB teams that aren’t necessarily looking to spend big on outfield help in free agency or via trade. Puig, who turned 30 last month, is the owner of a .277/.348/.475 line with 132 home runs and 79 stolen bases across 3,376 plate appearances. That history of above-average production should help Puig land a reasonably priced contract before next season starts.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Managers & Top Front Office Executives On Expiring Contracts]]> 2020-12-27T14:11:27Z 2020-12-27T02:28:41Z A unique set of challenges faced anyone running a Major League franchise in 2020, between dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and then the difficulties involved in playing games during the delayed-then-shortened season.  Nevertheless, it seemed like only a certain amount of slack was granted the sport’s managers and front office leaders (whether that top title was president of baseball operations, general manager, chief baseball officer, etc.) through the turbulent year, as we still saw a number of teams make changes either in the dugout or at the top of the baseball ops department.

    As such, it’s fair to assume that a “normal” amount of pressure to put a winning — or championship-winning — team on the field will be the same in 2021 as in any usual season, even if 2021 is already looking it may have its own share of abnormality.  That means that for managers and executives heading into the last guaranteed year of their contracts, job security will likely be on the line in the coming months.

    Thanks to Cot’s Baseball Contracts for information on the various contractual details of team personnel, though this list may not be complete.  Some teams don’t publicly reveal contract lengths of managers or front office execs, so it’s possible some of these names might be locked up beyond 2021 whether due to the original terms of their current deals or due to extensions that haven’t been announced.

    Astros: Originally signed to a one-year deal with a club option for 2021, Dusty Baker saw Houston exercise that option last summer, lining Baker up for his 24th season running a Major League dugout.  Recent comments from Baker indicate that the 71-year-old is taking something of a year-by-year approach to his future, though if the Astros again reach the postseason, one would imagine the team would certainly have interest in retaining Baker for 2022.  A longer-term extension seems unlikely, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if at least another club option (or even a mutual option) was tacked onto Baker’s deal to give both sides some flexibility going forward.

    Athletics: While major postseason success continues to elude the team, Oakland has reached the playoffs in each of the last three years.  This makes six postseason appearances for Melvin in 10 years managing the A’s, and it seems likely the team will discuss another extension for Melvin as he enters the final year of his current contract.  While Billy Beane’s possible departure would naturally have a major impact on the Athletics, the likelihood of longtime executive and current GM David Forst taking over the baseball operations department would probably mean that Melvin would be welcomed back.

    Blue Jays: Charlie Montoyo is entering the last guaranteed year of his original three-year contract, and the Jays hold a club option on Montoyo’s services for 2022.  That option could be exercised to give Montoyo a bit more security as a reward for leading Toronto to the playoffs last year, though expectations are certainly higher for the 2021 team.  It should also be noted that there hasn’t yet been any official confirmation that president/CEO Mark Shapiro has signed a new contract with the team after his five-year deal ran out after last season, but last October, Shapiro seemed to imply that a new deal was all but complete.

    Braves: After going from interim manager to full-time manager following the 2016 season, Brian Snitker has twice been signed to extensions — most recently last February, when Atlanta turned its 2021 club option on Snitker into a guaranteed year.  Snitker has led the Braves to three straight NL East titles and the team fell one game shy of the NL pennant last October, so Snitker seems like a prime candidate for another extension prior to Opening Day.

    Diamondbacks: 2020 was an overall disappointing year for a D’Backs team that was aiming for the postseason, but team president/CEO Derrick Hall indicated that the organization wasn’t planning to make any wholesale changes due to the season’s unusual nature.  This bodes well for manager Torey Lovullo as he enters the last year of his contract, and it seems possible Arizona could add another year to Lovullo’s deal just so he can avoid lame-duck status.

    Mariners: Both GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais were in the final year of their contracts when both inked extensions with Seattle in July 2018.  The terms of those extensions weren’t known, but 2021 would be the final guaranteed year for both if the extensions were three-year deals like their original contracts, though it’s possible Dipoto and Servais each got more security than just a three-year pact.  The Mariners have mostly been in rebuild mode since those extensions were signed, and with the team only starting to deliver on some of the young talent amassed in the farm system, ownership could give Dipoto (and quite possibly Servais) more time to see if they can finally get the M’s back to the playoffs.  Considering the previous extensions weren’t announced until midseason, we might not know Dipoto/Servais’ fate for some time — and if the Mariners get off to a particularly disappointing start, changes might be in the offing.

    Marlins: One of few holdovers from Jeffrey Loria’s ownership, Don Mattingly was signed to a two-year extension following the 2019 season that contained a club option for 2022.  The young Marlins reached the postseason last season, so Mattingly has a good case to at least get his option exercised at some point this year, and another extension could well be discussed if CEO Derek Jeter and GM Kim Ng are satisfied with the team’s progress.  It can’t hurt that Ng knows Mattingly well from her past days an assistant general manager with the Yankees and Dodgers.

    Mets: The winds of change have swept through the Mets organization this winter, yet Luis Rojas wasn’t affected, as team president Sandy Alderson announced that Rojas will remain in the dugout for 2021.  Making the move from quality control coach to manager after Carlos Beltran’s quick resignation last winter, Rojas signed a two-year deal with club options for both 2022 and 2023.  Expectations are definitely higher for Rojas under the Steve Cohen regime, but given all of the tumult of the 2020 season, Cohen and Alderson (plus newly-hired GM Jared Porter) seem interested in seeing what they actually have in Rojas before deciding on whether a new manager is required.

    Orioles: According to The Athletic’s Dan Connolly, “one industry source said it’s believed” that 2021 is the last guaranteed year of manager Brandon Hyde’s contract, with the club possibly holding a club option for 2022.  For that matter, executive VP/general manager Mike Elias didn’t have his contract terms revealed when he was hired in November 2018, so he could also be in his final guaranteed year if he hired Hyde on a similar timeline to his own deal.  It doesn’t seem like a change is coming in either the front office or the dugout, as the Orioles are still at least a couple of years away from coming out of a complete rebuild.  (Connolly makes the case that Hyde should be retained, as Hyde has had little to work with as manager and deserves a chance to steward an actual competitive roster.)

    Rangers: Chris Woodward is entering the last guaranteed year of his deal, with the Rangers holding a club option for 2022.  Woodward has a 100-122 record over his first two years in the Texas dugout, and since the team is looking to get younger in 2021, it doesn’t seem like an immediate return to contention is in the cards.  If it’ll be a year or two until the Rangers are done with what seems like a mini-rebuild, it’s possible the team might decide to hire a new manager to herald them into something of a new era.  Woodward may have to prove himself anew by shepherding this younger talent and keeping the Rangers as competitive as possible while they shuffle the roster.

    Rays: Erik Neander’s contract terms aren’t known, and it has been over four years since his promotion to the GM/senior VP of baseball operations position in November 2016.  So, if Neander’s new gig came with a five-year contract, it would be up at the end of 2021.  He makes the list due to uncertainty over his contractual situation, but it doesn’t seem like Neander and the Rays will be parting company any time soon, especially after the club reached the 2020 World Series.  Neander reportedly has no interest in leaving the organization and the Rays turned down the Angels’ request to speak with Neander about their GM opening earlier this offseason.

    Reds: 2021 is the last guaranteed year for manager David Bell, with the Reds holding a team option for 2022.  On the plus side for Bell, he led the team to the playoffs in 2020, though Cincinnati was swept out of the two-game wild card series without scoring even a single run against Atlanta pitching.  The Reds spent a lot of money to build that winning team, yet now seem focused on moving salaries, with Raisel Iglesias dealt to the Angels and such names as Eugenio Suarez and Sonny Gray also coming up in trade talks.  It remains to be seen if the Reds are trying to just trim payroll or make more wholesale cuts, and this direction could certainly impact Bell’s future if the club is already thinking rebuild.

    Rockies: Now through six full seasons as Colorado’s GM, Jeff Bridich’s contractual status is unknown.  Between the Rockies’ struggles over the last two years and the frosty relationship between Bridich and star third baseman Nolan Arenado, it would certainly seem like Bridich will need to get things turned around quickly.  However, payroll cuts appear to be on the horizon, and the front office is also dealing with the loss of two-thirds of the analytics department.  As has been noted many times in the past, Rockies owner Dick Monfort tends to give his employees lots of opportunities, but if Bridich’s contract is up any time soon, one wonders if Monfort might feel a change is necessary.

    Yankees: While no official statement has been made, owner Hal Steinbrenner clearly stated after the season that manager Aaron Boone will be returning in 2021, so it’s safe to assume the Yankees have exercised their club option on Boone.  There hasn’t been any buzz about an extension, and until then, there will be plenty of media focus on Boone’s lame-duck status.  Boone has a 236-148 record and three postseason appearances in his three seasons as manager, but as always in the Bronx, the focus is on playoff success — the Yankees have only made it as far the ALCS once during Boone’s tenure.  Anything short of a World Series appearance could spell the end of Boone’s stint as manager.

    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Examining The Orioles Rotation]]> 2020-12-26T16:01:18Z 2020-12-26T15:56:45Z For the first time in a few years, the Baltimore Orioles plan to begin the 2021 season with a rotation that fans can dream on. They’re not quite ready to challenge the Yankees or the Rays for the division, but neither will their roster be flooded with journeymen and July trade candidates – at least not entirely.

    Make no mistake, the Orioles will count as a surprise if they don’t finish in fifth place in the East, but songs of progress are sung in many different keys. The Orioles are entering Year Three under GM Mike Elias, which under most circumstances should call for the beginnings of the organization’s on-field transformation. Last year’s 25-35 record was a step in the right direction after back-to-back 100-loss seasons, but that still put them on a roughly 95-loss pace over a full campaign.

    Progress for the Orioles this season begins in the rotation where youngsters Dean Kremer and Keegan Akin plan to slot behind John Means and Alex Cobb, per’s Roch Kubatko. Means and Cobb hardly make for a bone-chilling front of the rotation, but there ought not to be much question about their ability to stick in the rotation for a full season.

    Means has been worth roughly 2.2 bWAR per 150 innings over his first two seasons, though there’s a stark contrast between his first half of 2019 and the time since. The 33-year-old Cobb, meanwhile, returned to form in 2020 with a 4.30 ERA/4.87 FIP in 52 1/3 innings over 10 starts. He’s a back-end starter at this point and could serve as eventual trade bait, but at least for the first half of the season, he ought to help protect the bullpen from overuse.

    Where Means and Cobb secure the floor, Akin and Kremer raise the ceiling. The right-handed Kremer made four starts in 2020 with a 4.82 ERA/2.76 FIP. He struggled a bit with command (5.8 BB/9), but a high-spin fastball deployed up and a cutter with 4.4 inches of horizontal movement helped him secure 10.6 K/9 in his first taste of big league action. Kremer came to the Orioles as part of the Manny Machado package, but his slider looked like a difference-making pitch at the time, and his arsenal has shifted in the years since.

    What that means isn’t yet clear. There’s been some question about whether Kremer has stuff enough to stick in the rotation long-term, but the Orioles are going to give the soon-to-be 25-year-old a chance. Internally, he might be their best chance for a first-division rotation type before prospects like Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall start arriving in a couple years.

    The southpaw Akin boasts a similar profile, but from the other side. Both pitchers surrendered hard contact in 2020, but they still showed enough to manage a spot in the rotation. If either one can build on their 2020 performance to take firm hold of rotation innings, the Orioles could continue to grow their win totals in 2021. On the other hand, none of the front four seem particularly likely to develop into a frontline arm. They still seek high-impact talent in that department. The Orioles rotations ranked 19th in fWAR, 23rd in ERA and 24th in FIP, so they’ll need to improve to make much hay in the American League.

    On the offensive end, Adley Rutschman has the chance to be the kind of impact player an organization can rally around. The former first overall draft choice will begin 2021 in Double-A, noted Kubatko. As Rutchschman nears, Elias should feel some pressure to field a competitive team around him. Even if Akin and Kremer aren’t exactly Johnson and Schilling, they can begin to lay the groundwork for a professional roster.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Hire Tony Mansolino As Third Base Coach]]> 2020-12-25T00:10:57Z 2020-12-25T00:10:57Z The Orioles have hired Tony Mansolino as their third base coach, Rich Dubroff of tweets. Paul Hoynes of reported the news earlier this month, but it flew under MLBTR’s radar.

    Mansolino will take over for Jose Flores, who had been on the Orioles’ staff since they hired manager Brandon Hyde before the 2019 season. Flores worked as their third base coach and served as an infield instructor.

    The 38-year-old Mansolino is a former minor league infielder who has garnered quite a bit of coaching experience since his playing career ended in 2010. Mansolino managed and coached in Cleveland’s system for 11 years, Hoynes notes. He spent last season as Cleveland’s infield coordinator, and he subbed in as its third base coach, replacing Mike Sarbaugh, when manager Terry Francona went on leave for health reasons.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Sign Nick Ciuffo To Minor League Deal]]> 2020-12-21T18:48:30Z 2020-12-21T18:48:30Z 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.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles "Unlikely" To Pursue Ha-Seong Kim]]> 2020-12-21T04:35:38Z 2020-12-21T04:35:38Z
  • Since Ha-Seong Kim is only entering his age-25 season, there has been some thought that his market could extend to teams who might still be at least a year away from contending (the Rangers, for example, are known to have interest).  However,’s Steve Melewski thinks “it sure seems unlikely” that the Orioles will make a bid for Kim since the O’s don’t seem to be planning any major expenditures.  Between contract and posting fee, MLBTR projects Kim to cost around $47.625MM this offseason, so Baltimore may not feel like making such an investment at this stage in its rebuild.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles To Sign Fernando Abad To Minors Contract]]> 2020-12-16T15:59:46Z 2020-12-16T15:59:46Z The Orioles are working out the “final details” of a minor league deal with southpaw Fernando Abad, Roch Kubatko of reports (via Twitter).  Baltimore also had interest in Abad last season, before he inked a minors pact with the Nationals.

    The new contract is a nice early birthday present for Abad, who turns 35 tomorrow.  The veteran left-hander didn’t see any MLB action in 2020, as Washington released him in July and Abad didn’t receive a call-up from the Yankees after New York signed him to another minor league deal shortly after the start of the season.  Abad also had to deal with an asymptomatic COVID-19 diagnosis that caused him to miss the Nats’ Summer Camp due to quarantine.

    A veteran of nine Major League seasons, Abad has posted some quality results during his career, including a 3.13 ERA, 2.58 K/BB rate, and 8.0 K/9 over 233 innings from 2013-17 with the Nationals, A’s, Twins, and Red Sox.  He had a minor league deal with the Mets lined up prior to the 2018 campaign, but that signing fell through after Abad was hit with an 80-game PED suspension.

    Abad’s only big league action over the last three years was 13 innings of work with the Giants in 2019, so it remains to be seen if he has anything left in the tank to contribute to the Orioles bullpen.  There’s no real risk for the O’s, however, as if Abad is anything close to his prime form, he can provide some much-needed experience to a young Baltimore pen.