It's been an interesting few days for now-former Orioles prospect Joe Mahoney, who this afternoon was claimed on waivers by the Miami Marlins. Just two days ago, Mahoney was designated for assignment by the Orioles when they traded for Danny Valencia.
Now he is headed to a new club and feels he'll be given a good chance to win an opening day roster spot come next April.
"It's a new opportunity for me and it's exciting," Mahoney said this afternoon. "My wife and I are excited to see a new area and explore a new city. I want to take advantage of an opportunity to perform at the big league level.
"Micheal Hill, the GM, called me and welcomed me to the team and said in spring training they will try me out at first and the outfield. They are looking to give some young guys a chance. He said they'd seen me play a lot and they like me. They like my versatility. It will be a good feeling to get a fresh start."
The Orioles drafted the 25-year-old lefty hitter in the sixth round in June 2007. He's played in 619 career minor league games for the O's hitting .274.
Last year at Triple-A Norfolk, Mahoney hit .265 with 10 homers, 56 RBIs and an OPS of .708 in 132 games. He hit better in the second half with a .281 average and .781 OPS. This was the season Mahoney briefly made the majors and he had two stints with the Orioles, going 0-for-4 from July 5-9 and Aug. 16-18.
But then came the DFA news earlier this week.
"It was tough. It's not the best news in the world," he said. "It hits your ego a bit and the confidence you have, but it's part of the game and I understood that. I'm just looking forward to moving on and getting back to baseball.
"Not getting a September call-up these past few years, I didn't think my days were numbered, but I was not very high up on the pecking order. Obviously there are signs, but now I'm looking forward to this and am really excited."
Mahoney knew he was behind at least Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis on the first base depth chart for 2012, and he said he never got frustrated to not have gotten a bigger chance with the Orioles.
"Obviously, I didn't have the year I was hoping for in Norfolk, but some good did happen. I played the whole season and played a good first base, I thought. I got to make my debut with the Orioles which was great.," Mahoney said.
"I spent my whole career with them and have seen a lot of faces come and go. I was fortunate to be with a team for so long. I know a lot of guys there and wish them the best.
"I've made some real friends and had good relationships there, not just with coaches, but you know, strength coaches and trainers. Everyone up and down the ladder. It will be tough to walk into spring training and not see those guys but I'm excited for this opportunity."