Orioles offseason tracker

Keeping tabs on roster moves by the parent club

Keegan Akin led the International League with 131 strikeouts in 2019. (Scott Sears/Norfolk Tides)

By Norfolk Tides | November 5, 2019 3:26 PM

From waiver claims and free agent signings to players being released and designated for assignment, the baseball offseason is always full of roster movement. We'll do our best to keep track of it all here. 

Last updated: November 21st

11/20

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). 

11/15

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. 

11/4

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. 

10/31

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. 

10/30

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. 

10/1

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. 

9/30

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.

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