Orioles add catcher; Bynum, Torres find new teams

Baseball America recently posted the latest set of minor league transactions, and the Orioles were involved in a couple of the moves on the list. The blog entry consists of all deals reported between Dec. 5 and Dec. 15.

The Orioles’ acquisition of utility player Ryan Freel, second baseman Justin Turner and third baseman Brandon Waring in exchange for catcher Ramon Hernandez is included. The two minor league players in that trade – Turner and Waring – were discussed in a previous entry on O’s on Deck.

According to Baseball America, the Orioles also signed Billy Killian to a minor league contract. Killian is a 22-year-old catcher who played for the Single-A Winston-Salem Warthogs, an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, in 2008. He hit .206 with six RBIs in 47 games for Winston-Salem last season.

The San Diego Padres drafted Killian out of high school in the third round of the 2004 MLB draft, but he’s struggled in five seasons in the minors. Killian has a .235 batting average in 223 games, and he’s never hit a home run in his professional career.

Killian was traded from the Padres – along with starting pitcher Adam Eaton and relief pitcher Akinori Otsuka – to the Texas Rangers on Jan. 4, 2006 for starting pitcher Chris Young, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and outfielder Terrmel Sledge.

Killian has never played more than 55 games in a single season, so it looks like he was mainly signed to fill a roster spot at one of the lower levels of the organization.

Baseball America also notes that Eider Torres, who played in eight games for the Orioles during the 2008 season, signed with the Chicago White Sox. The 25-year-old infielder was 2-for-9 with two runs scored in his brief stint with the Orioles. Torres hit .307 with 28 stolen bases and 69 runs scored in 115 games for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides last season.

In related news, the Washington Nationals recently signed 13 players to minor league contracts. Why do I mention this on a blog named for the Orioles’ minor league system? The answer is simple – one of those players was former Orioles starting shortstop Freddie Bynum.

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