The Orioles announced they have claimed infielder Pat Valaika off waivers from the Rockies. Additionally, the club outrighted four pitchers: right-handers Ryan Eades, Luis Ortiz, and Tayler Scott and left-hander Josh Rogers.
Valaika is the most notable name in today’s spate of transactions. The 27-year-old has taken 433 MLB plate appearances over four seasons in Colorado, starting games at all four infield positions (along with a handful of action in left field) in that time. All told, he’s only a .214/.256/.400 hitter, which translates to a dreadful 55 wRC+ when factoring in the run environment of Coors Field. He’s shown some ability to make hard, airborne contact, which surely attracts the Orioles’ front office, but his aggressive approach has not yet proven up to par at the big league level. Valaika will be out of options next season, meaning he needs to stick on the active roster next year or else again be exposed to waivers, assuming he remains on the 40-man roster the entire offseason.
The four pitchers have combined for fewer than 60 MLB innings. Eades, 27, worked to a 2.38 ERA in 11.1 innings in 2019, but his peripherals were far less rosy. Ortiz, still just 24, was once a well-regarded prospect but has fallen on hard times at the highest level of the minors. He started 14 games for Triple-A Norfolk in 2019 and pitched to a 6.38 ERA with unimpressive strikeout (15.4%) and walk (10.1%) rates, a trying season even in the explosive run environment in the International League.
Scott, like Eades, made his MLB debut this season at age-27. Split between Seattle and Baltimore, he worked 16.1 difficult innings, although he was quite good in the high minors. Rogers, meanwhile, was acquired as a secondary piece in the 2018 deal that sent Zack Britton to the Yankees. He started eleven games for Norfolk before going down with a season-ending left elbow sprain.
Because Rogers was on the 60-day injured list, today’s spate of transactions only clears two spots on Balitmore’s 40-man roster, which now sits at 38. The pending activation of Alex Cobb from the 60-day IL and free agency of Mark Trumbo will keep Baltimore’s roster at 38 entering the offseason, as Roch Kubatko of MASN tweets.