The Orioles added a peculiar offseason reclamation project this week, agreeing to terms with first baseman/designated hitter Jesus Montero on a minor league deal, according to an industry source. Montero, 27, has struggled to live up to his billing as one of the game's top prospects.
Montero will be ineligible to play for the season's first 50 games of the upcoming season following a September suspension for testing positive for dimethylbutylamine, a banned stimulant. It was his second violation of the league's drug policy. Montero's suspension is without pay.
Montero, then a catcher in the New York Yankees' organization, was the No. 3-ranked prospect according to Baseball America entering the 2011 season. He was traded to the Seattle Mariners one year later in a deal that landed the Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda.
Montero hit .260/.298/.386 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs in his first season in Seattle, but in 2013 he was suspended 50 games for his part in the Biogenesis scandal, which involved a health clinic sending players performance-enhancing drugs. The penalty carried over into the 2014 season.
Montero never panned out as a catcher, and has played first base and designated hitter exclusively since 2014. Last season, he played for the Blue Jays' Triple-A team, hitting .317/.349/.438 with 11 homers and 60 RBIs in 126 games before his suspension was announced after the minor league season.
It's not certain whether Montero's deal with the Orioles includes an invitation to major league camp this spring.
The move was first reported by Fan Rag Sports.