The Orioles added catching depth to the organization by claiming Cam Gallagher off waivers.
The Orioles announced on Sunday that they claimed catcher Cam Gallagher off waivers from the San Diego Padres. He was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk immediately. Organizational depth is always important, and despite the strong season in Baltimore, Mike Elias keeps adding to the fringes.
What’s funny about this is that Gallagher was claimed off waivers from the Padres, but he didn’t play for the Padres at all. He was traded to San Diego by the Kansas City Royals at the trade deadline in exchange for Brent Rooker and was assigned to Triple-A El Paso. He stayed there until he was DFA’d on Friday and was picked up by the Orioles and optioned to Norfolk on Sunday.
In a corresponding move, Gallagher got a 40-man roster spot because the Orioles DFA’d Rico Garcia, who last pitched for the Orioles on September 4, and had been in Norfolk since then. Gallagher is just the second position player to be picked up on waivers this season, joining Jonathan Araúz, while the front office has claimed lots of pitchers.
Gallagher has not seen much action in the majors this season, playing in just 18 games for the Royals. He posted a .214 batting average, .267 OBP, and .600 OPS, driving in five runs without a home run. Of the nine hits he had, five of them were doubles.
As Gallagher has not played much in the majors, he only appears on two Statcast metrics this season. His sprint speed is rated poorly, ranking in the 7th percentile as per Baseball Savant. His max exit velocity is more in his favor, ranking in the 66th percentile, so he tends to hit the ball hard, as his five doubles can show.
In 6 seasons in the majors, Gallagher has played sparingly, mostly bouncing between MLB and Triple A. He has a .240 career batting average to go with a .302 OBP, .355 slugging percentage, and .656 OPS. He has seven home runs and 37 RBI’s in 171 career games.
The addition of Gallagher is also an important add for Norfolk themselves. He’s the 6th catcher listed on their roster, but he’s the third healthy one. Catchers Brett Cumberland, Anthony Bemboom, and Jacob Nottingham are currently on the minor league injured list, with Cody Roberts and Ramon Rodriguez the other healthy catchers.
Gallagher is also under club control beyond this season. This was his first year of arbitration, with his salary being $885,000 over the whole season. His final arbitration year is 2024, and he is scheduled to hit free agency that offseason.
The claiming of Gallagher is likely a move for the Orioles to see what they have in him, to see if he’s a project worth helping. If he is, who knows what the Orioles could do with him. If not, he can be DFA’d with little to no risk. Since he is on the 40-man roster, he’ll likely be the one called up if injury were to strike either Robinson Chirinos or Adley Rutschman, but he’ll stay in Norfolk otherwise.