The Orioles announced Wednesday that they’ve signed veteran second baseman Kolten Wong to a minor league deal. The PSI Sports Management client will join their big league camp as a non-roster invitee. Baltimore also confirmed its previously reported signing of right-hander Julio Teheran — also on a minor league deal and non-roster invitation.
Wong split the 2023 season between the Mariners and Dodgers, struggling mightily over a monthslong stint in Seattle before posting sharp numbers in a tiny sample of 34 plate appearances with the Dodgers late in the season. The now-33-year-old veteran hit just .165/.241/.227 in 216 trips to the plate as a Mariner — 65% worse than league average, by measure of wRC+ — before batting .300/.353/.500 with a pair of homers in his brief time with Los Angeles.
Prior to last season’s uneven and generally ugly showing, Wong was a relatively consistent source of slightly above-average production at the plate and standout defense. A two-time Gold Glove winner at second base, he was the game’s premier defensive option at the position for a few years. And from 2017-22, Wong tallied 2564 plate appearances between the Cardinals and Brewers, slashing a combined .269/.349/.414 (about 7% better than average, per wRC+).
Wong has never been a premier power hitter or speed threat, but he does have five seasons of double-digit home run totals and another five seasons of double-digit stolen base totals. He’s fanned at a 16% clip that’s well south of the league average while walking at a 7.7% rate that’s less than one percentage point shy of the league mean.
Given the sheer volume of infield talent the Orioles possess, Wong will face an uphill battle to make the club. Gunnar Henderson can handle either position on the left side of the diamond, and he’ll be joined by a combination of ballyhooed prospects including Jordan Westburg, Connor Norby and Jackson Holliday — the current No. 1 overall prospect in baseball.
Baltimore also has veteran depth/utility options in the form of Ramon Urias and Jorge Mateo, the latter of whom is seeing more time in the outfield this spring on account of the wealth of infield talent the O’s have in house. Corner infielder Coby Mayo is also rapidly climbing the minor league ranks and could debut this season, while yet another top prospect, Heston Kjerstad, is also in the mix for at-bats alongside veteran Ryan Mountcastle at first and Anthony Santander in right field. One thing perhaps working in Wong’s favor is his left-handed bat. Each of Westburg, Norby, Mayo, Urias and Mateo bats right-handed. If the O’s want a veteran lefty bat off the bench who can spend some time at second and provide insurance for their bevy of talented but inexperienced infielders, Wong could fit the bill.