Sarasota, Fla. — For the second time this spring, the Orioles traded away international signing bonus slot money for minor league pitching depth, acquiring right-hander Xavier Moore from the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
Moore, 20, was a 16th-round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2017 and made 25 combined appearances over two seasons at the rookie and Short-A level for that organization, pitching 33 2/3 innings with a 4.54 ERA while striking out 10.16 batters per nine innings with a 1.57 WHIP.
The Rangers dealt him to Minnesota earlier Sunday for outfielder Zach Granite, and the Twins immediately swung him to Baltimore. His acquisition marks the second time this spring that the Orioles dealt international signing bonus slots for a player after they acquired right-hander David Lebron from the Texas Rangers on Feb. 24.
Lebron, 25, was a Division II All-American and had a 1.31 WHIP over two levels in the Rangers organization in 2018.
Including the December trade for infielder Drew Jackson at the Rule 5 draft, Moore makes three players the Orioles have acquired for international signing bonus pool allotment, which is MLB's way of limiting signing bonuses for international amateur players.
The bonus pool slots give teams the ability to spend that amount without incurring penalties, and after acquiring $2.75 million in trades last year from the Atlanta Braves to supplement their allotted $5.5 million, the Orioles have spent just over $1 million in bonuses this year.
While that's an upgrade from years past, when the team has operated on the fringes of the market as part of what then-executive vice president Dan Duquette referred to as a strategic decision from ownership, the team didn't land any of the late-signing jewels in the market in Cubans Victor Victor Mesa, Victor Mesa Jr. or Sandy Gaston when they were available in October.
New executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias has made advancing in that market a priority, hiring Koby Pérez away from the Cleveland Indians as the senior director of international scouting, but has been clear that the large pool of money acquired for the 2018-19 signing period won't be spent simply for the sake of spending it.
Pérez said the money could be used for late-bloomers, though Elias has noted there are better ways for the team to spend its resources until the caliber of players they're hoping for emerge.
While Cuban shortstop Yolbert Sanchez remains a significant free agent on the market this signing period, the top talents traditionally have agreements in place well before the new bonus window begins each July 2.