SARASOTA, FLA. — The Orioles added another free agent Friday, agreeing to terms with veteran Danny Valencia on a minor league deal, according to an industry source.
The deal is pending medical review, according to the source, and could be finalized Saturday. It is unknown whether it includes a big league camp invitation.
The 33-year-old Valencia, a right-handed hitter, is one of several free agents who went through the entire offseason unsigned and had to wait until deep into spring training to find a team.
He hit .256/.314/.411 with 15 homers and 66 RBIs in 130 games for the Seattle Mariners last season, playing mainly first base but also getting time in right field and at third base. He owns a career .863 OPS against left-handed pitching.
Valencia played with the Orioles in 2013, seeing most of his time as a designated hitter against left-handed pitching. He hit .304/.335/.553 with eight homers and 23 RBIs in 52 games with the Orioles.
He will join Pedro Álvarez, Colby Rasmus, Alex Presley, Chris Tillman and Andrew Cashner as players the Orioles have signed during spring training.
There’s not a clear fit for Valencia on the major league roster. Mark Trumbo is entrenched in the designated hitter spot, and the club has several right-handed outfield options, led by top prospect Austin Hays. Chris Davis is at first and the team has several right-handed options there, including left fielder Trey Mancini and Trumbo, if needed. Though he has played first and third, Valencia wouldn’t fit as a utility infielder — one of the team’s biggest needs — because he doesn’t play shortstop.
Valencia agreeing to terms was first reported by MLB.com.
Bowden’s rave review
SiriusXM baseball analyst Jim Bowden spent a lot of time at the Ed Smith Stadium complex when he was general manager of the Cincinnati Reds, but Friday marked his first time there since the spring training facility was dramatically remodeled for the Orioles.
“The last time I was here was exactly 15 years ago, and I haven’t been back since,” Bowden said. “It’s fun and amazing to look at the phenomenal job that the Angelos family and the leaders in the city of Sarasota did. It’s incredible.”
Bowden said he adored the facility before it was refurbished, but marveled at the architectural and overall look of the ballpark now.
“I loved it,” he said. “Obviously, I was farm director here with the Reds as well as GM for a decade and I loved Sarasota. Lived on Siesta Key and went to St. Armands Circle and just the baseball facility here. It was just so easy.
“The first thing I did when I walked in was take out my iPhone and take pictures. I still have pictures of when we were here with the Reds, but to watch the improvement, I had to stop and take the pictures. The aesthetics are incredible.”
Around the horn
Left-hander Richard Bleier, right-hander Mychal Givens and knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa each pitched an inning of relief in Friday’s "B" game after Miguel Castro. Gamboa allowed a run, while Givens and Bleier tossed clean innings. ... Hays (shoulder) is responding well to his Wednesday cortisone shot, but will need a few days of full swings once he's cleared next week to return to the lineup. "I think he's going to manage real well with it," manager Buck Showalter said. "I think he's going to be happy with the results of the injection, the first time somebody gets one of those." ... Presumptive closer Brad Brach will make his spring debut Saturday when the Orioles travel to face the Philadelphia Phillies.