Orioles decline Alexi Casilla's option for 2014, make other procedural moves

The Orioles made several roster management moves Monday, including officially declining the $3 million option for 2014 in infielder Alexi Casilla's contract, buying it out for $200,000.

The 29-year-old infielder, who batted .214 in 62 games for the Orioles in 2013, is now a free agent and is eligible to sign with any club.


"He is a good player," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. "He didn't see a lot of playing time for us, but when he did play, he did a good job."

The Orioles also added 25-year-old left-handed pitcher Chris Jones to the 40-man roster. The team acquired Jones in the trade that sent right-handed relief pitcher Luis Ayala to the Atlanta Braves in April. He could have become a minor-league free agent had he not been put on the 40-man roster.

Jones allowed two earned runs in four games for Double-A Bowie this year before a promotion to Triple-A Norfolk, where he went 4-4 with a 2.67 ERA in 31 games and 70 2/3 innings. He is currently pitching in Venezuela in winter ball on the same team as Orioles' left-hander T.J. McFarland.

"He gets lefties out, very effective," Duquette said. "He made a big step in 2012 [with the Braves organization] with his control, and he improved his strikeouts. He likes to pitch; he's durable."

Also, the Orioles made a few unannounced procedural changes to the 40-man roster late last week, adding injured third baseman Manny Machado (knee surgery) and outfielder Nolan Reimold (spinal fusion surgery) from the 60-day disabled list.

Reimold, 30, is expected to be ready for spring training, but as an arbitration-eligible player who batted just .195 in 40 games last year due to injury, it's possible he is not tendered a contract for 2014. He then could be taken off the 40-man roster and re-signed. The club would like to keep him in the organization.

Machado, 21, hopes to be playing again for the Orioles around Opening Day.

With the maneuvering and free agency, the Orioles now have 31 players on their 40-man roster.

The Orioles had seven players declare for free agency at the end of the World Series: right-handed pitchers Scott Feldman, Jason Hammel and Francisco Rodriguez; outfielders Nate McLouth and Michael Morse; infielder Brian Roberts and catcher Chris Snyder. As expected, the Orioles made no qualifying offers by Monday's deadline -- worth $14.1 million for 2014 -- to any of their free agents who were eligible (Hammel, McLouth and Roberts).

Duquette said the club has not had any talks with those players about re-signing so far this offseason, but there are several who the club would like to retain.

In other Orioles-related news, Minor League Baseball and the Topps Company announced Monday that the Orioles had captured three Players of the Year awards in their respective leagues, the most of any organization.

Catcher Caleb Joseph, 27, won the award for the Eastern League. The 2008 seventh-round pick hit 22 home runs and had 97 RBIs while batting .299 for Double-A Bowie.

Catcher Michael Ohlman, 22, was named Player of the Year for the Carolina League. The 2009 11th-round selection batted .313 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs for High-A Frederick.

First baseman Trey Mancini, 21, won the award for the New York-Penn League by hitting .328 with three homers and 35 RBIs. He was the organization's eighth-round pick out of Notre Dame this year.



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