The Orioles announced the signings of eight minor league players, all of whom will receive non-roster invitations to big league camp this spring.
The list includes many familiar names. Seven of the eight have been in the Orioles organization at some point over the past four years.
The only one of the eight who has no previous Orioles ties is South Korean first baseman Ji-Man Choi, who spent the past five years in the Mariners organization.
The Orioles also signed infielder Steve Tolleson, who played with the big league club in 2012, as well as right-hander Todd Redmond, who was in big league camp with the O's in 2013. The club also re-signed right-hander Pedro Beato, left-hander Cesar Cabral, left-hander Ashur Tolliver, infielder Ozzie Martinez and catcher Audrey Perez.
Choi struggled to stay on the field the past two seasons because of injury last season and a 50-game suspension for a failed drug test in 2014. Despite underwhelming power numbers for a first baseman – he hit just eight homers in 400 plate appearances at the Triple-A level – he posted strong on-base numbers in the minors, including a .280/.379/.401 slash line in 101 games at Triple-A.
Tolleson served as a valuable utility man for the Orioles in 2012, playing second base, third base and shortstop in 29 big league games. He hit .183/.227/.310 with two homers and six RBIs that year. He’s played a similar role with the Blue Jays the past two years, seeing action in 109 games with Toronto in 2014.
Redmond came to big league camp with the Orioles in 2013, but was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays that March. He was a contributor for Toronto in 2013 and ’14, posting a 3.79 ERA over 152 innings in both starting and relief roles. He struggled last season in limited time with Toronto – he pitched to a 7.31 ERA over 16 innings (one start) – and was designated for assignment and cleared waivers three times during the season.
Beato, Cabral and Perez spent last season with Triple-A Norfolk, while Tolliver and Martinez were at Double-A Bowie.
Beato, the Orioles’ first-round pick in 2006, was 5-5 with a 2.65 ERA and 16 saves in 74 2/3 relief innings for the Tides in his first year back in the organization after time with the Mets, Red Sox and Braves. Beato saw brief major league time with all three teams.
Cabral, 26, was with the Orioles briefly in June, throwing one scoreless inning over two appearances, but spent most of the season at Norfolk, going 2-1 with a 4.95 ERA in 40 relief innings.
Perez drew praise from some in the organization for his catching ability. At the plate, the 26-year-old hit .243/.279/.303 with two homers and 21 RBIs in 78 games for the Tides.
The Orioles liked the defense and leadership that Martinez provided last season as the starting shortstop Bowie. He made 115 starts at shortstop, recording a .973 fielding percentage and hit .252/.310/.303 for the Baysox.
Tolliver, 27, had the best season of his six-year minor league career with the Orioles, posting a 2.91 ERA in 58 2/3 innings at Bowie. He posted 61 strikeouts and allowed just 51 hits.