The Orioles announced the signing of three right-handers — Eduard Bazardo, Kyle Dowdy and Wandisson Charles — to minor league contracts this evening. All three are relievers who’ll add to Baltimore’s bullpen depth without requiring a spot on the 40-man roster.
Bazardo has spent his entire career in the AL East. A former international signee of the Red Sox, he played parts of seven seasons in the Boston system. The Venezuela native has primarily pitched at Triple-A Worcester over the last two years, tallying 68 2/3 innings of 4.33 ERA ball. Bazardo has fanned an average 23.1% of opposing hitters at that level against a solid 7.7% walk rate, securing fairly brief looks in the majors in each of the past two seasons.
The 27-year-old tallied 19 1/3 MLB innings over 14 appearances, allowing five runs. That’s a strong mark but wasn’t supported by a fairly modest 14:8 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Boston ran Bazardo through outright waivers in each of the last two years and he elected minor league free agency after going unclaimed in October. He averaged 94 MPH on his fastball and generated a decent number of whiffs on his low-80’s breaking ball in his limited big league look.
Dowdy pitched 22 1/3 innings as a Rule 5 draftee for the Rangers back in 2019, walking more batters than he struck out while posting a 7.25 ERA. Returned to the Cleveland system midseason, he spent the next couple years in the minor leagues. Dowdy returned to the bigs for a very brief stint with the Reds this September, making two appearances. He worked 6 1/3 scoreless innings for Cincinnati, albeit with just three strikeouts and walks apiece. Cincinnati non-tendered him at the end of the year to reallocate his spot on the 40-man roster to prospects they didn’t want to lose in the Rule 5 draft.
A University of Houston product, Dowdy turns 30 in February. He spent most of this year with the Reds highest affiliate in Louisville, pitching to a 3.96 ERA across 52 1/3 frames. Dowdy punched out 24% of opponents but issued walks at a significant 13.3% clip. Strike-throwing has been a consistent issue throughout his career, as he’s walked 12.7% of batters faced over four Triple-A seasons. He averaged a bit north of 96 MPH on his heater during his limited MLB look with Cincinnati.
Charles, 26, has yet to reach the majors. He secured a spot on the A’s 40-man roster over the 2020-21 offseason, which he held until this August. Oakland designated him for assignment and ran him through waivers amidst a grisly 2022 showing at Double-A Midland, and he reached free agency at season’s end. The native of the Dominican Republic posted an 11.43 ERA over 37 innings for the RockHounds, walking an untenable 18.8% of opponents with a 16.8% strikeout rate. The Orioles will hope a change of scenery can get him back on track. Prior to this year, Charles had garnered modest praise from prospect evaluators for a fastball that reaches the upper-90s.