The Orioles have signed outfielder Ben DeLuzio to a minor league deal, according to his transactions tracker at MLB.com. He has reported to the Triple-A Norfolk Tides and is in the lineup for tonight’s game.
DeLuzio, 28, was with the Cardinals last year but was non-tendered at season’s end and became a free agent. He signed a minor league deal with the Cubs this winter but didn’t make the club out of camp and was released. He landed with the Dodgers on another minor league deal but he hit just .180/.286/.258 in Triple-A and was again released last week, now landing with the Orioles.
His only major league experience came with the Cards last year, when he hit .150/.292/.200 in a small sample of 25 plate appearances. Although he didn’t steal a base in that time, his speed and defense are his best assets. He stole 30 bases in Triple-A last year and added another five in his brief stint with the Dodgers this year. While he was in the majors last year, Statcast pegged his sprint speed in the 98th percentile.
The Orioles already have plenty of speed, as their collective 43 steals put them fifth out of the 30 clubs in the league. Nonetheless, if DeLuzio can take a meaningful step forward with the bat, he could serve as an intriguing bench piece for the club, serving as a pinch runner and defensive replacement. He hit .283/.359/.430 in the minors from 2019 to 2022 and perhaps is capable of a stronger showing than what he’s mustered here in 2023 so far. If he’s able to make the roster, he has a full slate of options and less than a year of service time.