Baltimore Orioles Make A Handful Of Roster Moves
The Baltimore Orioles have made a few roster moves, including bringing in another utility infielder.
Ahead of game seven of the 2019 World Series, the Baltimore Orioles announced a series of roster moves as they begin to trim the 40-man roster in anticipation of protecting numerous Rule 5 draft-eligible players.
Per an official team announcement, the Orioles have outrighted LHP Josh Rogers, RHP Ryan Eades, RHP Tayler Scott, and RHP Luis Ortiz. All four accepted an assignment to Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles also claimed utility infielder Pat Valaika off waivers from the Colorado Rockies.
Eades, Scott, and Ortiz were all on the 40-man roster (Rogers was on the 60-day IL and not on the 40-man), putting the 40-man at 37 guys, for now. Mark Trumbo will officially become a free agent soon, while Alex Cobb will come off the Injured List and placed back on the 40-man, along with Valaika after his claim, giving the Orioles 38 players.
Eades was an August waiver claim who made six appearances for the O’s the rest of the way. He gave up three runs on seven hits across 7.2 innings, walking four and striking out five. Eades was simply someone to eat a few innings late in the year and will serve as minor league depth now.
Scott was another 2019 waiver claim who was effective in Triple-A with the Norfolk Tides, but struggled mightily during his time in the big leagues. He made eight appearances, giving up 18 runs on 20 hits (five home runs). His final pitching line came out to an 18.69 ERA, a 2.88 WHIP, and a .444 average against. He won’t be missed.
The one “surprise” move was Luis Ortiz. Ortiz was part of the Jonathan Schoop return in 2018, was a former top prospect, and features a major league-quality fastball and slider. Unfortunately, Ortiz could not find his footing in Triple-A this year and has been a piece of work in the majors.
Ortiz went 3-7 with a 6.38 ERA and 1.63 WHIP in 14 starts for the Tides, walking 31 and striking out just 47 in 66 innings. He made one start in the majors giving up four runs on four hits (two home runs) and five walks in 3.1 innings. Ortiz made his last appearance on July 2nd before going down with an injury (logged one rehab inning in the Gulf Coast League on August 15th).
If he wants to stick around and return the majors, Ortiz has a lot of work to do. With his removal from the 40-man and no other team putting in a waiver claim, the writing appears to be on the wall for Ortiz.
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Baltimore Orioles claim Pat Valaika off waivers.
Valaika had been with the Rockies since 2013 when Colorado selected him in the 9th round of the MLB draft out of UCLA. Standing at 5’11”, the 27-year-old utility infielder adds depth up the middle as the Orioles continue to shake out the rest of the 40-man roster.
Jonathan Villar is projected to earn a big raise in arbitration ($10+ million) and is likely the top name on the Orioles trade block this offseason. Hanser Alberto‘s name has also been mentioned a few times in trade rumors since this year’s trade deadline. If one of these middle infielders is moved and Richie Martin begins the year in Triple-A, the Orioles will be forced to rely on rookies like Rylan Bannon and Mason McCoy to play up the middle. Neither are quite ready for the majors. Hence the addition of Valaika.
Valaika has appeared in 231 games across four major league seasons with the Rockies, slashing .214/.256/.400 with 17 home runs, 22 doubles, and 51 RBI. He spent the majority of this season in Triple-A where he hit .320 with 22 home runs and a .952 OPS. Don’t get excited about those minor league numbers. Hitting in the Pacific Coast League with juiced baseballs can make anyone look good.
He broke onto the scene in 2017, hitting 13 home runs with an .817 OPS for Colorado in 110 games. Since then, Valaika has posted an OPS of .460 and .572 in each of the last two seasons.
Our friends over Rox Pile, the FanSided website dedicated to covering the Colorado Rockies, published an in-depth look at Valaika’s struggles since that 2017 campaign earlier this year. You can check out that piece here. Spoiler alert- it won’t make you overly excited about Valaika joining the roster.
Expect to see a lot more activity with the World Series coming to a close on Wednesday night. Stay tuned here for the latest news and reactions to all the upcoming roster moves. You can also follow us on Twitter @BirdsWatcherFS!