9:20am: The Orioles have announced the signing.
9:12am: The Orioles have agreed to a minor league pact with veteran catcher Bryan Holaday, Craig Mish of FNTSY Radio reports (via Twitter). The Lagardere Sports client will presumably head to Major League Spring Training as a non-roster invitee in hopes of landing a backup job in Baltimore.
Holaday, 32, spent the past two seasons in the Marlins organization and saw action at the MLB level in each campaign, hitting a combined .237/.297/.335 with five homers and 11 doubles in 295 trips to the plate. He threw out 34.9 percent of attempted thieves on the bases in his two years with Miami (22-for-63) and rated solidly in terms of pitch blocking, per Baseball Prospectus. After turning a corner in the framing department in 2018, his numbers backed up toward their (below-average) career norms in 2019.
At present, it seems likely that the Orioles will rely on Chance Sisco and Pedro Severino as their primary options behind the dish, but it’s possible that the club could want Sisco to log everyday at-bats in Triple-A Norfolk if he doesn’t show well in Spring Training.
Sisco, a second-round pick in 2013, has long rated as one of the Orioles’ best prospects (and one of baseball’s best catching prospects), but he’s yet to find much success in the Majors. Injuries limited him to a combined 394 plate appearances between Triple-A and the big leagues in 2019, which surely didn’t help his cause. He has one minor league option year remaining, so the O’s could still send the 24-year-old to Triple-A for refinement if they wish. Severino, on the other hand, is out of minor league options.
Elsewhere on the 40-man roster is 29-year-old Austin Wynns. He’s regarded as a solid defender but hasn’t hit much in the upper minors or in the Majors. Like Sisco, he has a minor league option remaining. Holaday will have to beat out both Sisco and Wynns to get a look out of camp. If not, he could head to Triple-A and give the organization an eight-year MLB veteran to provide depth in Norfolk.