Mike Elias and the Orioles have kept themselves busy so far this offseason, now adding four more players to minor league deals.
Let’s dive right in!
The first player is left-handed relief pitcher, Fernando Abad. Yes, the same guy who threw behind Manny Machado in 2014. However, this truly is not abad deal, pun intended.
The Orioles had the 9th best bullpen ERA in the majors in 2020. With a 3.90 collective ERA, the bullpen is on a fast track to being the highlight of the Orioles once again, and Abad is a serviceable veteran that can help an already rising bullpen.
Not playing in 2020, Abad last saw a pitcher’s mound in 2019 with the Giants, where he only appeared in 13 innings. His last substantial playing time was in 2017 with the Red Sox, when he held a 3.30 ERA in 43.2 innings, while having the third lowest WHIP of his career (1.237) and allowing just 0.8 HR/9.
If the Orioles can get some of that production from Abad, the 35-year-old could be a decent short-term filler or even a trade piece come July.
The next player on this list is former first round pick, Nick Ciuffo. Drafted 21st overall by the Tampa Bay Rays, Ciuffo is a 25-year-old catcher, who’s only seen 19 games in the majors across 2018 and 2019.
Throughout the minors, Ciuffo has struggled to play full seasons, only surpassing 100 games in 2017. However, in that one long season, Ciuffo excelled in Double-A. He hit 29 doubles, seven home runs, and walked 42 times.
In his 19 major league games, Ciuffo could only muster one home run, five runs batted in, and struck out 15 times. He will add depth to a position all fans know is already taken care of, but maybe we get some surprise power out of Ciuffo, while possibly playing another position.
Next, we have a couple more pitchers, the first being right-hander Claudio Custodio. A peculiar case, Custodio is a 10-year career minor leaguer, who transitioned from middle infield to pitching in 2015.
Custodio has had more success from the mound, posting a 2.61 ERA in 31 games in Double-A. Another guy who really isn’t a part of the future, a cheap deal gives us a chance to see what he brings to the minors in 2021.
Lastly, we have another right-hander, this one by the name of Conner Greene. The youngest of the bunch, 25-year-old Conner Greene was drafted in the seventh round by Toronto in 2013.
Greene has jumped around a bunch between Double-A and Triple-A, while never dropping his ERA lower than 3.67, which he accomplished in 2018.
Greene is more promising than the other career minor leaguers here, as he has shown promise in high levels of the minors. Despite two bad appearances in 2019, Greene pitched fairly well. His specialty is pitching against right-handers and could be someone we see out of the bullpen in 2021 to pitch in certain situations.
Welcome to Birdland, Fernando, Nick, Conner, and Claudio!
Let us know what you guys think about the newest members of the Orioles in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on the web and on Facebook and Twitter!