The Orioles signed right-hander Dan Straily to a major league deal Friday, the team announced, filling out a starting rotation that even with Alex Cobb returning Thursday was still one major league starter short.
Straily, 30, is a veteran of seven major league seasons with five different teams, most recently the Miami Marlins. He made 56 starts over the past two seasons for the Marlins, with a 4.20 ERA, but was released at the end of spring training.
“We pursued Dan Straily immediately once he became available,” Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said in a statement. “He’s the type of accomplished major league starter who will help stabilize our pitching staff. We are hoping to work him into our rotation soon.”
Depending on how ready he is to pitch in the majors, Straily will alleviate a headache for the Orioles in terms of their pitching staff. Right-hander Nate Karns has started two of their first seven games as an “opener” of bullpen games, and the resulting strain has made the Orioles’ relief corps the most taxed in baseball.
The Orioles don’t have another day off until April 25, meaning they’ll have four turns through the rotation until then, and a bullpen game by choice will drain the relievers even further.
Asked this week in Toronto whether getting Cobb back would allow the Orioles to go with a more traditional rotation along with Dylan Bundy, David Hess and Andrew Cashner — though the fifth starter in spring, Mike Wright, has pitched as a reliever since — Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said it was “something we're playing with right now.”
“We're kind of tinkering,” Hyde said. “We have the four, and with that fifth spot, the spot today, it's kind of undecided right now on what we're doing going forward, to be honest with you.”
Adding Straily allows the starters at Triple-A Norfolk, including Josh Rogers, Gabriel Ynoa, Luis Ortiz, Keegan Akin and Yefry Ramirez, to continue toward their development goals without having their respective plans interrupted by the majors.
To clear a roster spot for Straily in the majors, the Orioles designated Rule 5 utility player Drew Jackson for assignment.
Jackson had a walk in four plate appearances, though he didn’t get a start since spring training ended. He was a promising prospect acquired in the Rule 5 draft through a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies. Jackson, 25, was prized for his speed and arm and because he can play all over the infield and outfield.
“It was tough taking Drew off the roster,” Elias said. “His versatility has always been attractive and he has shown tremendous effort and had a great attitude. He has a bright career ahead of him. We simply decided we wanted 13 pitchers for the foreseeable future and had to make a tough call. It is never easy to carry Rule 5 picks all year.”
Additionally, the Orioles announced that right-hander Pedro Araujo was back in the organizational fold. He cleared waivers and was returned to the Chicago Cubs, only for the Orioles to acquire him back for international bonus pool slots.