Orioles add relief, infield depth in first wave of minor league free-agent signings

Orioles beat writers Eduardo Encina and Jon Meoli talk about the Orioles' minor league signings. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)

The Orioles announced a set of 14 minor league signings on Tuesday, including a big set of relief pitchers and infielders they hope will stock the high minors in 2018.

Several of the players signed have major league experience, including the previously reported signings of left-handers Josh Edgin and Ryan O'Rourke, who filled middle relief roles for the New York Mets and Minnesota Twins, respectively.


Another important offseason deadline will approach at the end of this week as teams must tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players by Friday at 8 p.m., otherwise making them free agents. Last year, the Orioles signed catcher Welington Castillo after he was nontendered.

Jhan Mariñez, 29, comes to the Orioles having made his major league debut in 2010 and having pitched for six big league clubs in his career. The Dominican right-hander posted a 3.70 ERA over 43 appearances between the Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers in 2017, and has a 3.43 big league ERA in 95 career appearances.

Right-hander Ralston Cash, 26, has spent parts of two seasons at Triple-A and was at Double-A for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners last season. He has a 3.87 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP over his career, most of which has been as a reliever. The Dodgers’ 2010 second-round draft pick has not yet reached the majors.

Jeff Ferrell, a 27-year-old right-hander, got his second taste of the majors with the Detroit Tigers in 2017. He made 11 appearances with a 6.75 ERA to bring his major league ERA to 6.53 in 20 relief appearances, though he has a 4.00 ERA in 178 minor league games.

Left-hander Joely Rodriguez, 26, made his major league debut with a 2.79 ERA in 12 appearance for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2016. But he struggled in 2017 and was traded to Texas, who later designated him for assignment.

Of the six infielders signed — Angelo Mora, Garabez Rosa, Erick Salcedo, Luis Sardiñas, Rubén Tejada, and Ryan Ripken — all but Mora was with the Orioles organization in 2017.

Mora, 24, hit .291 with a .769 OPS between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley in the Phillies organization last season. He plays primarily shortstop, second base and third base, but also has some experience in the corner outfield positions.

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Rosa, the reigning Eastern League MVP, will be back for his 12th season in the Orioles organization. A career .270 hitter, the 28-year-old hit .310 with a .776 OPS for Double-A Bowie last season.

He shared an infield with the 24-year-old Salcedo, who was the organization's best infield defender last year and hit .260 in 2017.

Tejada, 28, played 41 games with he Orioles last year before they traded for Tim Beckahm to be their everyday shortstop, and will return in a depth role in 2018. Sardiñas, 24, hit .319 with a .767 OPS for Norfolk last season after the Orioles claimed him off waivers from the San Diego Padres.

Ripken, the son of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., spent last season with Short-A Aberdeen.

The Orioles also added a pair of catchers, re-signing Armando Araiza and adding Yojhan Quevedo. The Orioles added Araiza, 24, in a trade with the Atlanta Braves in May, and he primarily played for High-A Frederick last year. Quevedo, 24, only made it out of short-season ball in the Mariners organization last season.

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