The Orioles announced Thursday that they’ve signed right-hander Brady Rodgers and catcher Taylor Davis to minor league contracts. Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register first reported that Davis had landed a deal with the O’s (Twitter link).
That Rodgers would land in Baltimore isn’t a huge surprise, given that he was long ranked as one of the Astros’ more promising pitching prospects during now-Orioles GM Mike Elias’ stint in the Houston front office. Injuries, however, have significantly slowed the righty’s career. He appeared poised to step into the big leagues for a full-time audition in 2017 after pitching to a 2.86 ERA in 132 innings of Triple-A ball in 2016. Instead, he underwent Tommy John surgery that May and was sidelined for more than a year.
Since going under the knife nearly three years ago, Rodgers has been limited to 116 2/3 innings between the big leagues and the minors. He’s been clobbered for 23 runs in 13 2/3 innings in the Majors but does possess a career 3.67 ERA with 7.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and 0.8 HR/9 in 365 Triple-A frames. Rodgers generated strong ground-ball marks earlier in his career but has been more of a fly-ball pitcher since returning from surgery. The Astros selected Rodgers in the third round of the 2012 draft when Elias was a key figure in their scouting department — he ascended to scouting director the following year — and the Orioles have a clear need for pitching depth.
As for Davis, he’s a longtime Cubs farmhand with a bit of MLB experience. The 30-year-old backstop is signing on for his first season outside the Cubs organization after compiling a .277/.350/.385 clash through 1595 plate appearances at the Triple-A level. Davis has also logged 39 plate appearances in 20 MLB games, hitting at a .222/.256/.333 clip in that tiny sample.
In addition to his time as a catcher, Davis has logged more than 1000 innings at first base in his career and 292 frames across the diamond at the hot corner. He has a career 25 percent caught-stealing rate as a catcher and a track record of very strong framing numbers in the upper minors, per Baseball Prospectus. Beyond his solid play in Triple-A, Davis is perhaps best known for the myriad GIFs that were born of his penchant for locking eyes with the television cameras at any and all opportunities during Iowa Cubs games, dating back to the 2016 season.