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Orioles acquire outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. from Blue Jays for international bonus money

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

With a third trade of international signing bonus money this spring, the Orioles added to a strength in acquiring outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. from the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.

Smith, 26, is a 2011 first-round draft pick (53rd overall) who made his major league debut with the Blue Jays in 2017 and has a .293/.365/.467 batting line in 47 games over two seasons.

Toronto deployed him primarily in left field in the majors, though he has experience in right and center field in the minors as well.

"Dwight Smith is a young outfielder with a strong track record of performance and a plus hit tool from the left side," executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said in a statement. "We like adding him to what has become a deep and varied outfield mix in camp."

Smith becomes the third player the Orioles acquired this spring using their vast amount of international signing bonus slots accumulated over the past year, though the first at the major league level.

The slots represent only the right to spend money, not actual money itself. The Orioles had around $7 million in bonus slots after trades last summer, but have spent just over $1 million on bonuses. That means after their failed attempts at Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa, Victor Mesa Jr. and Sandy Gaston in October, there haven’t been many players left on the market to sign from the period that began July 2.

Elias has said they wouldn't spend the money for the sake of spending it. The Orioles sent unspecified amounts to the Texas Rangers for minor league right-hander David Lebron and to the Minnesota Twins for minor league right-hander Xavier Moore since spring training began.

Smith became available after Toronto designated him for assignment earlier this week to clear a roster spot for right-hander Clay Buchholz, and he comes to the Orioles with one minor league option remaining. He joins an outfield mix that's already full of options, with Trey Mancini and Cedric Mullins incumbents in left field and center field, respectively, and Austin Hays, Joey Rickard, Anthony Santander and DJ Stewart also on the roster.

Top prospect Yusniel Diaz has been one of the team's best players this spring, while nonroster invitee Eric Young Jr. is in the mix for a spot, albeit with a near-identical profile to Smith.

Smith’s father, Dwight Sr., played 813 games over eight seasons in the majors from 1989 to 1996, including a brief stint with the Orioles in 1994 (28 games). An outfielder, he spent most of his career with the Chicago Cubs, finishing second in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1989.

To clear a 40-man roster spot for Smith, the Orioles designated left-hander Josh Osich for assignment. Osich was claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants on Feb. 19, and pitched twice in the Grapefruit League for the Orioles.

Despite losing left-hander Donnie Hart on waivers to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday, the Orioles are well-stocked with left-handed relievers at the major league level with Richard Bleier, Tanner Scott and Paul Fry.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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