Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said newly acquired catcher Johnny Monell will compete for the backup job in 2014.
The Orioles obtained Monell from the Giants tonight for cash considerations and placed him on the 40-man roster.
Monell, 27, batted .275/.364/.494 with 27 doubles, two triples, 20 homers and 64 RBIs in 121 games with Triple-A Fresno this season. He’s a career .267/.351/.456 hitter in seven minor league seasons in the Giants organization.
Monell made his major league debut this season and went 1-for-8 with an RBI. The Giants designated him for assignment earlier this week.
“He’s a left-handed hitting catcher and he had a good year with the bat,” Duquette said. “He has good power and he’s a capable receiver. He can also play first base, but our guys like his bat, his power. He’s been particularly good against right-handed pitching throughout his career.”
Steve Clevenger ended the 2013 season as the backup to Matt Wieters after the Orioles also used Taylor Teagarden and Chris Snyder. Monell, who’s batting .257/.346/.429 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 20 games in the Puerto Rican Winter League, will attempt to unseat Clevenger in Sarasota.
“It looks like he’s ready to help the big league club with his bat, so he can compete for the backup job and also be able to help us against right-handed pitching,” Duquette said. “He can also play first base if we need him.”
Monell has minor league options remaining, so the Orioles could send him down without having to pass him through waivers.
The Orioles have 39 players on their 40-man roster, including catchers Wieters, Clevenger, Monell and Michael Ohlman.