Vet­eran Ho­la­day signed; move may edge out Joseph

Baltimore Sun - - BASEBALL - By Nathan Ruiz

In the wake of the Ori­oles’ trades of Jonathan Vil­lar and Dy­lan Bundy, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent/gen­eral man­ager Mike Elias ex­pressed that the club’s big­gest needs for the off­sea­son would be in the mid­dle in­field, start­ing ro­ta­tion and catch­ing depth. Through free agency, he has seem­ingly ad­dressed all three.

The Ori­oles an­nounced Mon­day that they have signed vet­eran catcher Bryan Ho­la­day to a mi­nor league con­tract. Ho­la­day, 32, has hit .241/.287/.340 in an eight-year ma­jor league ca­reer spent mostly with the Detroit Tigers, though he spent the past two sea­sons as a backup with the Mi­ami Mar­lins and split the 2016 sea­son be­tween Texas and Bos­ton. A ca­reer backup, the Texas na­tive has never played more than 62 ma­jor league games in a sea­son.

Ho­la­day pro­vides depth be­hind a catch­ing group that fea­tures Pe­dro Sev­erino, Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns. Sev­erino and Sisco served as a pla­toon for most of the 2019 sea­son and fig­ure to reprise those roles in 2020, though the new 26th ma­jor league ros­ter spot could of­fer the Ori­oles the flex­i­bil­ity to carry a third catcher should they choose.

Detroit’s 2010 sixth-round pick out of Texas Chris­tian Univer­sity, Ho­la­day reached the ma­jors in 2012.

In 2019 with the Mar­lins, he split his time be­tween the ma­jors and Triple-A New Or­leans, play­ing 43 games with a .278/.344/.435 bat­ting line for the big league club. He’s been graded as a neg­a­tive pitch-framer in ev­ery sea­son but 2018, per

FanGraphs.

His sign­ing likely negates the pos­si­bil­ity of the Ori­oles re­unit­ing with long­time backup catcher Caleb Joseph, whom Elias pub­licly ex­pressed in­ter­est in sign­ing dur­ing the team’s Win­ter Warm-Up event last month. Joseph re­mains a free agent.

Ho­la­day’s mi­nor league deal joins the ma­jor league ones given to right-han­der Kohl Ste­wart and short­stop José Iglesias in ad­dress­ing the Ori­oles’ largest off­sea­son needs.

Elias will con­tinue to mon­i­tor the trade mar­kets for play­ers such as Trey Mancini and My­chal Givens, while Fri­day’s ac­qui­si­tion of in­fielder Richard Ureña shows Bal­ti­more will con­tinue to be ac­tive on the waiver wire.

But with the Ori­oles hav­ing al­ready signed all of their ar­bi­tra­tion-el­i­gi­ble play­ers, lit­tle re­mains to be done be­fore pitch­ers and catch­ers — the lat­ter group now in­clud­ing Ho­la­day — re­port to spring train­ing in Sara­sota, Florida, in less than a month.

Hold­ing on to Han­hold

Right-han­der Eric Han­hold, des­ig­nated for as­sign­ment once the Ori­oles signed Iglesias, has cleared waivers and been out­righted to Triple-A Nor­folk, the team an­nounced.

Han­hold did not pitch af­ter Bal­ti­more claimed him on waivers from the New York Mets in Septem­ber. The 26-year-old has a 4.64 mi­nor league ERA in his ca­reer, pitch­ing mostly in re­lief since 2017. He made three ma­jor league ap­pear­ances for the Mets in 2018.

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