The Orioles are signing right-handed pitcher Conner Greene to a minor league deal, per Robert Murray of FanSided. Greene will be a non-roster invitee in the Orioles’ spring camp.
Drafted by the Blue Jays in 2013, Greene started to garner some attention from prospect evaluators as he made his way up the minor league ranks. In 2016, Baseball America ranked him as the second-best prospect in Toronto’s system, though he fell to #5 and #16 in the next two seasons as he struggled to succeed in the upper levels of the minors.
In 2018, he was sent to the Cardinals as part of the Randal Grichuk trade, but was designated for assignment after just one season in the Cards’ system. He was claimed by the Royals but they, too, cut him loose after just one year.
The Orioles signed him to a minor league deal prior to the 2021 season. Greene eventually had his contract selected, got claimed off waivers by the Dodgers and re-claimed by the Orioles. In between those stints on the waiver wire, he managed to throw 25 1/3 MLB innings between the two clubs, putting up an ERA of 7.11, along with mediocre strikeout and walk rates of 21.5% and 9.9%. His numbers in 28 Triple-A innings were somehow worse, as he had a 7.39 ERA, 20.4% strikeout rate and 12.4% walk rate. The Orioles outrighted him at the end of the season.
Despite the lack of results, Greene continues to intrigue teams due to his stuff, with his fastball landing in the 86th percentile of MLB hurlers in terms of velocity and 70th percentile in terms of spin. He’s also still young (turning 27 in a few weeks), has less than a year of MLB service time and one option year remaining. For a team that seems destined for another year in the basement of the AL East, there’s little harm in taking a chance on Greene and seeing if he can harness his talents into better outcomes. If he succeeds, they could keep him around for years to come.