The Orioles released third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez yesterday, as first indicated on the transaction log at MiLB.com. He’d have been a minor league free agent this offseason anyhow and will now get an early jump on trying to secure a new landing spot for the 2023 season, likely on a minor league contract.
It feels like far more than just a few months ago that the 28-year-old Gutierrez was the Opening Day third baseman for the O’s, but that is indeed the case. Gutierrez got the Opening Day nod at the hot corner and started 10 games at third base for the O’s early this season (in addition to a pair of pinch-hit appearances). He appeared in a dozen games, hit .143/.250/.179 in 33 plate appearances, and was designated for assignment on May 2.
Gutierrez went unclaimed on waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Norfolk, where he spent the bulk of the 2022 season. In 238 plate appearances with the Tides, he turned in a .242/.315/.384 slash with six homers, eight doubles, a pair of triples, a 21.4% strikeout rate and a 10.1% walk rate. He’s now a .265/.334/.411 hitter in parts of three Triple-A campaigns.
There’s been some turnover in the Baltimore infield, as the O’s have gotten first looks at younger players such as Tyler Nevin, Terrin Vavra and, most recently, top prospect Gunnar Henderson. The latter of that trio has stepped in for six games at third, three apiece at shortstop and second base, and another two at designated hitter. He’s posted a combined .320/.370/.520 in his first 54 big league plate appearances and, in the process, continued his torrid minor league pace and illustrated just why the O’s are so confident he can be a future building block in the infield.