Orioles acquire catcher Torrens, designate reliever Krehbiel for assignment
The Orioles made a minor 40-man roster move on Wednesday afternoon, acquiring veteran catcher Luis Torrens from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for cash considerations. To make room for Torrens, the Orioles designated right-handed reliever Joey Krehbiel for assignment.
Torrens, 27, made his Major League debut with the San Diego Padres in 2017, and has also played for the Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs. Torrens' best season came in 2021 with the Mariners, when he hit 15 home runs, drove in 47 runs, and posted a respectable .730 OPS in 346 plate appearances. Torrens struggled in 2022 with Seattle, posting a .581 OPS and ultimately losing playing time to Seattle's current starting catcher, Cal Raleigh.
Brandon Hyde's recent lineups provide some clues as to the need for Torrens. As he did last night against left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, James McCann has been DHing against left-handed starters, leaving the Orioles without a backup catcher on their bench. In addition, when Adley Rutschman takes a "day off" from behind the plate, he will usually still be in the lineup, with McCann catching. If the Orioles choose to pinch hit for McCann later in the game, Rutschman would have to move to catcher, eliminating the Orioles' ability to use a DH. Acquiring Torrens gives the Orioles the flexibility to have him catch in such situations.
At this time, it appears Torrens will catch some games for AAA and come up whenever the Orioles are facing a slew of lefties. It is unclear whom he would replace on the 26-man roster if recalled, but backup first baseman Ryan O'Hearn may draw the short straw if Torrens is recalled. The Orioles made a similar move, optioning Terrin Vavra before facing three straight left-handers in Detroit, and the logic behind optioning O'Hearn for Torrens would be similar.
The designating of Krehbiel comes as a bit of a surprise, as the right-hander was a reliable reliever for the Orioles in 2022 and was pitching well in Norfolk to the tune of 2 saves and a 2.00 ERA in nine games. Perhaps the Orioles can sneak Krehbiel through waivers, though it is possible that a team needing right-handed relief depth will claim him over the next few days.