The Orioles have signed right-hander Asher Wojciechowski to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league spring training, according to an industry source.
The addition of Wojciechowski fits the mold of Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette’s recent minor league pitching signings this offseason. He’s a former high-round pick (2010 first round) with limited major league experience – though he has had some success at the big league level – with a strong minor league pedigree, a player the Orioles see as a potentially untapped source of pitching depth.
Wojciechowski, who turns 29 this month, logged 62 1/3 innings with the Cincinnati Reds this past season, going 4-3 with a 6.50 ERA in 25 appearances (eight starts).
His numbers from last season are skewed because of an 8.41 ERA in his eight starts last season. In 27 innings as a reliever, Wojciechowski held opposing hitters to a .206 batting average and posted a 4.00 ERA, working mostly as a long reliever. While pitching in relief, he averaged nine strikeouts per nine innings, but also averaged four walks.
He opened the season at Triple-A Louisville, but was promoted in mid-May, then was designated for assignment after a rocky four-start stretch in which he posted a 7.79 ERA, and was outrighted back to Louisville. He returned in July and made 15 of his last 19 appearances in relief. Out of his eight major league starts in 2017, he had just one quality start.
Wojciechowski owns a three-pitch repertoire that includes a low-90s fastball with a low-80s slider and a mid-80s changeup.
Wojciechowski was a first-round sandwich draft pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010, selected 41st overall out of The Citadel. He was a well-regarded pitcher coming up through the Blue Jays system and was a part of a nine-player trade with the Houston Astros in 2012.
Before this past season, his only previous major league experience came in 2015, when he made five appearances (three starts) for the Astros and posted a 7.16 ERA.
The Orioles will be Wojciechowski’s sixth different organization.
More minor league signings: Besides announcing the signings of Wojciechowski and right-hander Perci Garner, the Orioles also announced they added three other pitchers — left-hander Jason Gurka, right-hander Christian Binford and left-hander Luis Lugo — on minor league deals.
The signings of the latter three pitchers will provide minor league depth.
Gurka is a former Orioles farmhand, drafted by the team in 2008 and spending his first seven pro seasons in the organization. He has pitched 18 major league innings over the past three seasons with the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Angels.
He spent most of last season at the Triple-A level with the New York Yankees and Angels, posting a combined 3.20 ERA over 50 2/3 innings. He pitched three scoreless outings spanning two-thirds of an inning at the big league level with the Angels last season. He turns 30 next month.
Binford, who turns 25 this month, was a starter at the Triple-A and Double-A levels in the Kansas City Royals organization this past season, going a combined 8-10 with a 6.11 ERA in 27 games (24 starts).
Lugo, 23, has spent his entire seven-year pro career in the Cleveland Indians organization and was 8-7 with a 4.35 ERA in 26 games (25 starts) at Double-A Akron in 2017.