Baltimore Orioles

Top spot on waiver claims coming in handy for Orioles as they pick up two players

Even when they were finding success earlier this decade with their star-studded core, the Orioles often supplemented it through the waiver process by acquiring players, via claim or trade, who were deemed surplus elsewhere.

From former All-Star reliever Darren O'Day to corner bats Steve Pearce (the first and second time) and Danny Valencia (the first time), plus pitcher Vance Worley, the Orioles have filled plenty of useful spots.


And as they embark on this new era under executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias, the Orioles are clearly trying to use the waiver process to try to fill out the edges of their roster the same way, armed with the top priority in the waiver process this year.

During the offseason and for the first month of the season, the team with the worst record from the previous year gets priority on players placed on waivers in their own league. For players in the other league, each team in that league must pass before it crosses over.


Twice already this month, in right-hander Austin Brice from the Los Angeles Angels and infielder Hanser Alberto from the New York Yankees, the Orioles have taken advantage of that spot for a pair of areas of need on their roster — bullpen and middle infield depth — at little cost to the organization.

Brice, who struggled through three seasons of up-and-down time with the Miami Marlins and Cincinnati Reds before hitting the offseason roster carousel, is the type of spin rate pitcher teams are targeting in hopes of harnessing quick improvement. Alberto has a track record of hitting in Triple-A and the defensive versatility teams now value.

But as the Orioles go forward with really only their outfield spots in any kind of promising position for the present and future, such moves seem like they'll continue to be part of the plans around here until the farm system is built up to a point where such fringe acquisitions aren't needed.

With every American League roster move that's made, whether it's a trade or a free agent signing, someone is going to have to come off that team's roster. And now that the Orioles seem to be in the business of preparing for the 2019 season as opposed to just planning for the future, they might be looking more and more at moves like this to try and bring up the level of play at Camden Yards come Opening Day.

Notes: The Orioles will conduct an open tryout to find ballgirls and ballboys for the 2019 season at noon March 9 at Camden Yards. Those interested should dress casually, bring their own gloves, and use the Home Plate Plaza entrance to Oriole Park on the southwest corner of the ballpark. Complimentary parking will be available in Lot A. Candidates interested in participating in the tryouts are asked to send their cover letter and resume, including baseball or softball experience, to Resumes will be accepted until March 1, or candidates may bring their letter and resume to the open tryout.