The Orioles signed journeyman outfielder Alex Presley to a minor league deal that will include an invitation to major league spring training, the club announced on Monday.
Presley, 32, posted a .314/.354/.416 hitting line in 71 major league games with the Tigers last season. He made starts at all three outfield positions with Detroit and was 5-for-5 on stolen base attempts.
“He had a good year last year statistically,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Another player that could make our club. Left-handed hitter. Interesting guy, other than being from Ole Miss…I know he lives over at Lakewood Ranch. I talked to some people with the Tigers that are no longer with the Tigers, that’s the best people to talk to. I have a pretty good idea [about him] but I’ll try to go in with an open mind.”
The Orioles will be Presley’s sixth different organization, and he posted a .263/.306/.388 career hitting line over parts of eight major league seasons, but last year, he received his post playing time since 2014.
“I think I got more time to play consistently,” Presley said. “It was just more consistent in general with my approach and stuff like that. I was able to get in a groove and continue throughout the season.”
The Orioles have been looking to acquire an additional left-handed bat who can play the outfield, but its unclear whether this is the sole left-handed acquisition the Orioles were anticipating via free agency.
“It’s one of those things where things looked like they matched up well with the opportunity,” Presley said. “It’s been a long offseason for a lot of people. Felt like this was the opportunity that was going to be the best and just went with it.”
He will join Jaycob Brugman, who is on the 40-man roster but has a minor league option remaining, as left-handed hitting outfielders with major league experience who will be competing for a spot on the Orioles’ Opening Day roster. The Orioles have been looking for players who could improve their outfield defense, but Presley recorded minus-11 defensive runs saved last season with the Tigers.
Presley admitted to getting a little anxious not having a team as spring training drew neat, but also wanted to ensure he found the right home.
“At a certain point, maybe a little bit,” Presley said. “I think a lot of us were prepared to sit and get into the best spot and not pick a spot just to feel good about having somewhere to go. Felt like this was a good fit so just went for it.”
Catcher Andrew Susac, who missed his second straight workout day on Monday with that the team believes is a staph infection, was still being treated as a local hospital.
“He’s still in the hospital. I think the next 24 to 48 hours will decide how long they’re going to keep him,” Showalter said. “It’s something you’ve got to be really careful with, a staph infection. He’s taking a lot of antibiotics I think intravenously.”
Susac was acquired in a trade with the Brewers to compete with Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns for the Opening Day backup catcher spot behind starter Caleb Joseph.
Two additional catchers arrived in big league camp on Monday and caught bullpen sessions, minor leaguers Martin Cervenka and Armando Araiza. Showalter wants to have at least six catchers ready for Saturday’s split-squad game so none of them have to be available for both games.
The Orioles also signed Sharlon Schoop, the older brother of second baseman Jonathan Schoop, and infielder Corban Joseph, who is the younger brother of catcher Caleb Joseph, to minor league deals. They will report to minor league camp at Twin Lakes Park…. The Orioles completed their first full-squad workout of spring with only one players yet to report. Engelb Vielma, who will compete for a major league utility infielder position, is being held up with visa issues.