Last updated: January 24th
The Orioles inked C Taylor Davis and RHP Brady Rodgers to minor league contracts.
Davis, 30, has batted .277 with 35 home runs and 285 RBI over his nine-year minor league career - all of which have come in the Cubs system. He's appeared in 20 games with Chicago over parts of three seasons, and he hit .235 with five home runs and 23 RBI in 61 games for Triple-A Iowa in 2019. Davis attended Morehead State University after playing high school ball in Jupiter, FL.
Rodgers, 29, appeared in 10 games (eight starts) for Triple-A Round Rock in the Houston system in 2019, going 4-0 with a 3.83 ERA. He's spent his entire eight-year career in the Astros system, where he's gone 54-36 with a 4.04 ERA over 140 games (120 starts). Rodgers, who was drafted by Houston in the third round of the 2012 draft out of Arizona State University, has made eight appearances (one start) with the Astros - five outings in 2016 and three games in 2019.
The Orioles signed veteran backstop Bryan Holaday to a minor league contract. The 32-year-old catcher has appeared in 269 games over an eight-year major league career between the Tigers, Rangers, Red Sox and Marlins. He batted .278 with four home runs and 12 RBI in 43 games for Miami in 2019, while also appearing in 35 games and hitting .247 for Triple-A New Orleans.
Holaday was originally selected by the Tigers in the 6th round of the 2010 draft out of Texas Christian University.
The Orioles claimed IF Richard Urena off of waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. To make room on the 40-man roster, Baltimore designated IF Pat Valaika for assignment.
Urena, who turns 24 in February, hit .243 with six doubles and four RBI in 30 games for the Blue Jays in 2019. He also appeared in 98 games with Triple-A Buffalo, batting .274 with six home runs and 52 runs batted in. Urena, who is out of minor league options, appeared defensively at shorstop (70 games), third base (7 games), second base (48 games) and left field (1 game) between Toronto and Buffalo in 2019.
Baltimore inked IF Jose Iglesias to a one-year contract for the 2020 season, with a club option for 2021. Iglesias, 30, appeared in 146 games for Cincinnati in 2019, batting .288 with 11 home runs, 62 runs scored and 59 RBI. An American League All-Star with Detroit in 2015, Iglesias finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2013. He's appeared in 754 career games at shortstop over his eight-year big league career, with his .985 fielding percentage as a shortstop since 2013 leading all active players.
To make room for Iglesias on the 40-man roster, RHP Eric Hanhold has been designated for assignment.
The Orioles signed RHP Kohl Stewart to a major league contract while designating RHP Marcos Diplan for assignment.
Stewart, 25, split the 2019 season between Triple-A Rochester (20 games) and Minnesota (nine games) in the Twins system. With the Red Wings, he went 8-6 with a 5.14 ERA over 91.0 innings, while he went 2-2 with a 6.39 ERA in 25.1 innings with the Twins.
He was originally chosen by the Twins in the 1st round (4th overall) of the 2013 draft out of St. Pius X High School in Houston, TX.
The Orioles had a busy day at the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, CA.
In the major league phase, Baltimore selected RHP Brandon Bailey from the Houston system and RHP Michael Rucker from the Cubs organization.
Bailey, 25, spent the 2019 campaign with Double-A Corpus Christi in the Astros organization, going 4-5 with a 3.30 ERA in 22 games (17 starts). He had 103 strikeouts and 72 hits allowed over 92.2 innings of work, and he's registered 405 strikeouts and just 263 hits allowed over four minor league seasons since being drafted by Houston in the 6th round of the 2016 draft out of Gonzaga University.
Rucker, 25, split the 2019 campaign between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa in the Cubs organization, posting a 4.18 ERA in 36 appearances. Originally an 11th round pick of the Cubs out of BYU in the 2016 draft, Rucker has gone 17-14 with a 3.26 ERA over his first four minor league seasons.
In the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft, the Orioles chose outfielder Cristopher Cespedes and IF Wilbis Santiago from the Cleveland Indians.
Cespedes, 21, batted .326 with six home runs, 18 doubles and 33 RBI in 48 games for the AZL Indians in 2019. He's batted .261 with 18 home runs and 111 RBI over 241 games since being signed by Cleveland as a 17-year-old in 2015.
Santiago, 23, spent the majority of his 2019 season with Class-A Lynchburg in 2019, batting .310 with 15 doubles and 21 RBI over 67 games. He's hit .305 over his five-year minor league career since being signed by Cleveland as a 19-year-old in 2015.
The Orioles claimed RHP Marcos Diplan off of waivers from the Detroit Tigers.
Diplan, 23, split the 2019 season between Double-A Biloxi in the Brewers system and Double-A Pensacola in the Twins organization, going 3-5 with a 4.85 ERA in 38 games (seven starts). The Dominican Republic native has posted a 3.88 ERA over six minor league seasons, registering 75 more strikeouts (549) than hits allowed (474).
Baltimore signed IF Dilson Herrera to a minor league contract for the 2020 season. Herrera, 25, spent the 2019 season with Triple-A Syracuse in the Mets system, batting .248 with 24 home runs, 29 doubles, 64 RBI and 12 stolen bases. The Colombia native has appeared in 102 big league games between the Mets and Cincinnati Reds, batting .203 with 11 home runs and 28 runs batted in.
Baltimore acquired four minor league right-handed pitchers from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for RHP Dylan Bundy.
RHP Kyle Bradish, 23, appeared in 24 games (18 starts) for Class-A Inland Empire in 2019, going 6-7 with a 4.28 ERA. He struck out 120 over 101 innings pitched, and he was rated as the #21 prospect in the Angels system at the time of the trade. Originally a 4th round pick in 2018 out of New Mexico State University, Bradish was a California League Midseason All-Star last season.
RHP Isaac Mattson, 24, went 6-3 with a 2.33 ERA over 37 relief appearances between Class-A Inland Empire, Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake last season. He also pitched for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League, where he was named to the AFL Rising Stars game. Mattson was originally selected in the 19th round of the 2017 draft out of the University of Pittsburgh.
RHP Kyle Brnovich, 22, was an 8th round pick of the Angels in the 2019 draft out of Elon University. He finished his Colonial Athletic Association career ranked second all-time in strikeouts behind former Old Dominion standout Justin Verlander.
RHP Zach Peek, 21, was a 6th round pick by the Angels in 2019 out of Winthrop University. He led the Big South Conference in strikeouts in both 2018 and 2019, and he was Second Team All-Conference in the Big South last season.
The Orioles acquired LHP Easton Lucas from the Miami Marlins in exchange for IF Jonathan Villar.
Lucas, 23, was selected by the Marlins in the 14th round of the 2019 draft out of Pepperdine University. The 6-4 left-hander appeared in 12 games (nine starts) with short season Batavia, going 0-2 with a 3.98 ERA. He struck out 40 batters while allowing just 26 hits over 31.2 innings pitched.
Baltimore has agreed to terms on 2020 minor league contracts with 12 players: RHP Cristian Alvarado, IF Malquin Canelo, LHP Hunter Cervenka, C Martin Cervenka, C Daniel Fajardo, RHP Francisco Jimenez, IF Angelo Mora, IF Ryan Ripken, IF Jose Rondon, IF Jesmuel Valentin, OF Mason Williams and LHP Rob Zastryzny .
Alvarado, 25, went 3-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 40 relief outings for Double-A Bowie in 2019. The Venezuelan native has posted a 3.69 ERA over 172 career games since signing with Baltimore in 2012.
Canelo, 24, spent his 2019 campaign with Triple-A Lehigh Valley in the Phillies organization. In 128 games with the IronPigs, he hit .262 with 27 doubles, eight stolen bases and 35 runs batted in. Canelo has been in the Phillies system since signing as a 17-year-old in 2012.
Hunter Cervenka, who will turn 30 in early January, posted a 2.80 ERA in 45 relief outings at Triple-A last season, including a 2.25 ERA over nine appearances with the Tides. He has big league time with Miami and Atlanta, and he's posted a 4.17 ERA over 326 minor league appearances since being drafted by Boston in the 27th round of the 2008 draft.
Martin Cervenka, 27, spent most of his 2019 campaign with Double-A Bowie, where he hit .206 with four home runs and 17 RBI in 46 games. The Czech Republic native joined Norfolk at the end of the season and hit safely in all 12 games he appeared in, batting .372 with four RBI.
Fajardo, 25, has appeared in 352 career minor league games with the Orioles since he joined the system as a 17-year-old in 2012. He split the 2019 campaign between Delmarva and Frederick, batting .247 with two home runs and 30 runs batted in.
Jimenez, 25, split the 2019 campaign across three levels in the Orioles system, going 8-1 with a 3.12 ERA in 37 relief appearances. He spent the bulk of that time with Double-A Bowie, where he went 5-1 with a 2.82 ERA in 26 outings. He's posted a 3.47 ERA over 170 appearances in the Orioles system since 2012.
Mora, 26, split his 2019 campaign with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Dodgers system, batting .264 with four home runs and 46 RBI over 94 games. A middle infielder, Mora has appeared in 816 minor league games between the Dodgers and Phillies systems, hitting .260 with a .312 on-base percentage.
Ripken, 26, split the 2019 season between Bowie and Frederick, batting .276 with six home runs, 15 doubles and 33 RBI over 78 games. The son of Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr., he's hit .242 with 19 home runs over a six-year minor league career between the Orioles and Nationals systems.
Rondon, 25, joined the Orioles from the White Sox on a waiver claim on July 30th. He appeared in just one game with the Orioles before joining the Tides, where he hit .219 with two home runs and 12 RBI over 21 games. Rondon has played in 106 big league games between the Orioles, White Sox and San Diego Padres, belting nine home runs and nine doubles while posting a .260 on-base percentage.
Valentin, 25, batted .256 with eight home runs, 24 doubles and 46 RBI in 115 games with Double-A Bowie last season. The Puerto Rican native was a first round pick (51st overall) of the Dodgers in 2012, and he appeared in 46 games with the Philadelphia Phillies during the 2018 season.
Williams, 28, enjoyed a breakout season with the Tides in 2019, batting .308 with 18 home runs and 67 RBI in 121 games while leading the International League with 12 outfield assists. A 4th round pick by the Yankees in 2010, Williams has big league time with the Yankees, Reds and Orioles, where he's batted .286 with three home runs and 14 RBI in 87 career contests.
Zastryzny, 27, spent the majority of his 2019 season with Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Dodgers system, where he was 3-6 with a 7.16 ERA in 20 games (16 starts). A 2nd round pick of the Cubs in the 2013 draft out of the University of Missouri, the Canadian native has gone 26-30 with a 4.78 ERA over 146 games (98 starts) over his seven-year minor league career.
The Orioles announced their Minor League Managers, Coaches and Staff. Gary Kendall will return to Norfolk to manage the Tides in 2020, and he'll be joined on the coaching staff by Sean Berry, Kennie Steenstra, Ramon Sambo, Eli Steinfield and Chris Poole.
More info on the coaching staff can be found here.
The Orioles added four players to their 40-man roster in advance of the 2019 Rule 5 Draft. Baltimore selected the contracts of Ryan Mountcastle, Keegan Akin, Dean Kremer and Ryan McKenna.
Mountcastle turned in one of the best seasons in Tides history in 2019, as the 22-year-old was named the International League Most Valuable Player. Mountcastle led the league with 162 hits while hitting .312 with 25 home runs, 35 doubles and 83 runs batted in. He was also named as Baltimore's Minor League Player of the Year after leading all O's farmhands in average, homers, hits, RBI, doubles, OPS (.871) and runs (T-1st, 81). Mountcastle was named the first baseman on the International League's Postseason All-Star Team, becoming just the fourth Tides position player to be named to the Postseason All-Star Team since Norfolk aligned with Baltimore in 2007 (joining Oscar Salazar in 2008, Dariel Alvarez in 2015 and Pedro Alvarez in 2017). Mountcastle also represented the International League in the Midseason All-Star Game.
Akin spent the entire 2019 campaign with Norfolk, where he was 6-7 with a 4.73 ERA in 25 games (24 starts). The 24-year-old led the International League with 131 strikeouts, becoming the first Tides pitcher to lead the circuit in punchouts since Manny Hernandez in 1990. His 131 strikeouts were the most ever recorded by a Tides pitcher as an Orioles affiliate, surpassing a 120-strikeout campaign from Garrett Olson in 2008. He also ranked among qualifying International League leaders in average against (1st, .256), starts (T-4th, 24), ERA (6th, 4.73), WHIP (12th, 1.51) and innings pitched (T-12th, 112.1). Akin also started the Triple-A All-Star Game, the first Tides pitcher to start the contest since Jason Scobie in 2005.
Kremer, 23, spent the majority of his 2019 campaign with Double-A Bowie before a late season promotion to Norfolk. In 21 starts between Frederick (2), Bowie (15) and Norfolk (4), he combined to go 9-6 with a 3.72 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 113.2 innings of work. Kremer, who led all of Minor League Baseball with 178 strikeouts in 2018, posted a 2.37 ERA in six outings for Surprise in the prestigous Arizona Fall League following the 2019 regular season.
McKenna, 22, appeared in 135 games with Double-A Bowie in 2019 and batted .232 with 26 doubles, nine home runs, 54 RBI and 25 stolen bases. Rated as one of the top defensive outfielders in the Orioles system, McKenna ranked among Orioles minor leaguers in 2019 in walks (T-1st, 59), stolen bases (3rd, 25), doubles (3rd, 26), triples (T-3rd, 6), runs scored (T-3rd, 78), total bases (6th, 178), hits (7th, 113) and RBI (9th, 54).
RHP Aaron Brooks cleared unconditional release waivers and will pursue an opportunity with the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization. Brooks went 6-8 with a 5.65 ERA in 29 games (18 starts) between Baltimore and Oakland in 2019.
RHP Alex Cobb was reinstated from the 60-day Injured List, while RHP Gabriel Ynoa cleared outright waivers and became a free agent.
Cobb was limited to just three starts with Baltimore in 2019, as he underwent season-ending hip surgery on June 11th. In 146 career big league starts, the 32-year-old has gone 53-52 with a 3.85 ERA.
Ynoa, 26, went 1-10 with a 5.61 ERA in 36 games (13 starts) for the Orioles in 2019. The right-hander pitched for Norfolk in 2017 and 2019, and he's registered a 66-39 mark with a 3.60 ERA over 10 minor league seasons.
The Orioles announced that OF Mason Williams has been outrighted to Norfolk and has elected free agency.
Williams spent the majority of the 2019 season with the Tides, where he ranked second among Orioles minor leaguers in average (.308), home runs (18) and RBI (67). Williams, who was signed as a minor league free agent just before the 2019 season, appeared in 11 games with the Orioles, batting .267 with a double and two RBI.
The Orioles announced a series of roster moves, as RHP Luis Ortiz, LHP Josh Rogers, RHP Ryan Eades and RHP Tayler Scott were all outrighted off the 40-man roster and assigned to Norfolk.
Ortiz spent much of his 2019 campaign on the Injured List, and was limited to just one start with Baltimore and 14 starts with Norfolk. The 24-year-old had been acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in the Jonathan Schoop trade at the 2018 trade deadline.
Rogers, 25, also had his 2019 campaign cut short due to injury, as he underwent Tommy John surgery on July 3rd. Rogers, who came to the Orioles in 2018 as part of the Zack Britton trade, made 11 starts with Norfolk and five appearances with Baltimore in 2019 before being shut down.
Eades, 27, had been claimed from Minnesota on August 14th. He pitched in six games for the Orioles in 2019, posting a 3.52 ERA over 7.2 innings of work. He appeared in two games with Norfolk in 2019, but spent the majority of his season with Triple-A Rochester, where he went 4-3 with a 5.51 ERA in 29 games (two starts).
Scott appeared in eight games with Baltimore in 2019, allowing 18 runs over 8.2 innings of work. He had much more success with Norfolk last season, as he allowed just one run over 13 relief appearances with the Tides. Scott, 27, is the first pitcher born in Africa (he's from Johannesburg, South Africa) to ever pitch in a Major League game.
The Orioles also claimed IF Pat Valaika off of waivers from Colorado. Valaika, 27, has appeared in 231 big league games for Colorado from 2016-19, batting .214 with 17 homers and 51 runs batted in. A UCLA product who was chosen in the 9th round of the 2013 draft, Valaika belted 22 home runs and drove in 75 over 84 games with Triple-A Albuquerque last season.
The Orioles claimed RHP Cole Sulser off of waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays. Sulser spent most of 2019 with Triple-A Durham, where he went 6-3 with a 3.27 ERA in 49 games (four starts). He appeared in seven games with Tampa in 2019 (his first career big league action), throwing 7.1 shutout innings with nine strikeouts and three walks.
Sulser was originally drafted by Cleveland in the 25th round of the 2013 draft out of Dartmouth College.
The Orioles announced that RHP Chandler Shepherd cleared waivers and was outrighted to Norfolk. Shepherd, who made his MLB debut with Baltimore in 2019, had been claimed off of waivers from Boston in late May. He made 14 appearances (12 starts) with Norfolk in 2019, going 3-5 with a 4.60 ERA. He was also named the International League Pitcher of the Month in August after he went 3-1 with a league-best 1.62 ERA.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.