Orioles trade recently DFAed reliever to AL rival for intriguing catching prospect

Baltimore somehow flipped a reliever they had little use for into an actual, rea
Arizona Diamondbacks v Baltimore Orioles
Arizona Diamondbacks v Baltimore Orioles / G Fiume/GettyImages
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The Baltimore Orioles have been very busy in 2024 making all sorts of moves in shaping their roster to the way they want it. Some of that has been by necessity, as injuries have popped up, but the Orioles have also done a lot of transactional fiddling to try and figure out the best roster they can field at any given moment.

The downside of all of that roster movement is that guys without minor league options can become roster casualties, which appears to have been the case with Mike Baumann. Baumann has been a serviceable reliever for the Orioles over the last three seasons or so, sporting a 3.99 ERA in 90 appearances since 2022. However, he doesn't miss a lot of bats and his walk numbers seem to ask for trouble a lot of the time. As a result, he has been a fringe guy for a long time, and Baltimore recently tried to sneak him through waivers to make room for Grayson Rodriguez's return from the injured list.

However, the Mariners claimed Baumann on the waiver wire and the two teams struck a trade that turned out surprisingly well for the Orioles. Baltimore sent Baumann, along with catcher Michael Perez, in exchange for top-30 catching prospect Blake Hunt.

Orioles News: Baltimore lands surprising good prospect in trade with Seattle for Mike Baumann

Normally, these sorts of waiver wire trades don't yield all that much for the team losing the player. Guys on the waiver wire are generally expendable, and teams putting players on said wire don't have a ton of leverage in trade talks. Teams would either have to pull them back off waivers to avoid dealing with the claiming team (which can create 40-man roster problems), give the player up for nothing, or basically take whatever the claiming team is willing to part with to acquire them.

However, the Orioles had the 40-man roster space to theoretically keep him on their roster if they wanted to, and the Mariners clearly wanted Baumann, so they decided to send their No. 23 prospect (according to MLB Pipeline) in catcher Blake Hunt to Baltimore in order to land him. Perez, who the Orioles just signed on a minor-league deal and who hasn't done much in the minors this year, was a bonus depth piece.

Obviously Baltimore is set at catcher for the foreseeable future with Adley Rutschman around, but this is a still a big win. Hunt is a former second-round pick from 2017, and while he has bounced around a little bit, the guy has been raking at Triple-A this season with a .905 OPS. At worst, he gives the Orioles yet another intriguing trade piece to use at the trade deadline for catcher-needy teams, but Hunt could also serve as their back-up catcher once the team moves on from James McCann, who is a free agent after this season.

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