The Orioles' major league free agent drought ended Thursday with an agreement to sign right-hander Nate Karns, the team announced, adding the 31-year-old on a modest deal after he missed most of the past two seasons with injuries.
Karns, who last pitched in the majors in 2017 with the Kansas City Royals, has pitched for four major league teams in his career, which began in 2013 with the Washington Nationals. He broke out in 2015 with the Tampa Bay Rays, going 7-5 with a 3.67 ERA in 27 appearances (26 starts) over 147 innings.
He was traded to the Seattle Mariners in 2016, and then the Royals in 2017, but had thoracic outlet surgery to relieve tightness in his shoulder that summer and missed all of 2018 with elbow soreness.
Over his five years in the majors, Karns has gone 16-11 with a 4.37 ERA in 63 games (54 starts) with a 1.339 WHIP, 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings, and 3.6 walks per nine.
Karns presumably joins an Orioles rotation that features Andrew Cashner, Alex Cobb, and Dylan Bundy at the top but plenty of question marks otherwise, with David Hess, Yefry Ramírez, Jimmy Yacabonis, Josh Rogers, and a host of other young pitchers vying for a spot in the rotation.
In a corresponding move, infielder Jack Reinheimer was designated for assignment by the Orioles.
USA Today, who first reported the agreement, said it was worth $800,000.