The Orioles have acquired lefty Richard Bleier from the Yankees, per a club announcement, with cash or a player to be named later heading back in return. Baltimore designated first baseman/outfielder Christian Walker for assignment to create roster space.
Bleier, 29, had been designated for assignment recently by New York. The soft-tossing southpaw managed a strong 1.96 ERA in his 23 MLB frames with the Yankees last year, but managed only 5.1 K/9 to go with strong walk (1.6 BB/9) and groundball (54.1%) rates.
While that’s obviously rather promising for a debut campaign, Bleier hasn’t compiled the minor-league record to suggest its entirely sustainable. He worked to a 3.72 ERA in his 58 Triple-A innings in 2016, notching just 25 punchouts along the way. And though he has recorded an over 3.29 earned run average in 147 frames at the highest level of the minors, exhibiting excellent command along the way, he has an anemic 3.7 K/9 in that span.
As for Walker, the move rates as a disappointment after indications earlier in the offseason that he could contend for a roster spot. That hope largely came to an end when the O’s brought back Mark Trumbo, though it seemed there was at least some possibility with a big spring — until now. The 25-year-old, a fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft, has received only minimal time in the big leagues with Baltimore. Over three seasons of work at Triple-A, he slashed .260/.324/.429. Though he split his time last year between first base and the outfield, that represented his first look on the grass.