Orioles sign Xavier Paul to minor league deal (more signings announced)

The Orioles have signed outfielder Xavier Paul to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, according to a team official.

Paul, 28, batted .244/.339/.402 with 12 doubles, seven homers and 32 RBIs in 97 games with the Reds. He hit .253/.349/.426 with all of his extra-base hits and RBIs against right-handers. He was 3-for-19 against lefties.

The Reds non-tendered Paul, a career .254/.316/.376 hitter in parts of five major league seasons with the Dodgers, Pirates and Cincinnati.

The Dodgers selected Paul in the fourth round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft.

Paul gives the Orioles another left-handed hitting outfielder on their spring training roster. He’s played 126 major league games in left, 91 in right and 10 in center.

David Lough, acquired from the Royals yesterday for infielder Danny Valencia, is more likely to be the everyday left fielder or platoon with Nolan Reimold, but Paul provides depth.

Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet first reported the Paul signing.

Meanwhile, the Orioles are expected to announce closer Grant Balfour’s signing later today, with a press conference scheduled for Friday. Still waiting for the official word.

Note: The Cubs have signed left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

The Cubs reportedly view Wada as a starter and will allow him to compete for a spot in the 2014 rotation.

The Orioles declined Wada’s $5 million option and had no interest in re-signing him. He was paid $8.15 million over the past two seasons without pitching for the Orioles due to an elbow injury that required ligament-reconstructive surgery in 2012.

Update: The Orioles announced that they signed Paul, infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr., first baseman Chris Marrero and right-hander Fabio Castillo to minor league contracts with spring training invitations.

Castillo is the only new name. The others have been written in this blog, with the Orioles nearing an agreement with DeJesus before the Winter Meetings and finalizing it this week. There was lots of competition for him.

Castillo, 24, posted a 3.34 ERA and 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 14 games (two starts) with Double-A Richmond in 2013. He also made 23 appearances (five starts) with Triple-A Fresno, going 4-5 with a 6.47 ERA and 75 hits allowed in 57 innings.

Castillo spent his first seven professional seasons in the Rangers organization.

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