Orioles acquire Blake Hunt from Mariners for Mike Baumann and Michael Pérez

Teammates knew that reliever Mike Baumann wouldn’t clear waivers after the Orioles designated him for assignment. He’d most likely be traded rather than relinquished for no return.

They were right.

The Orioles announced late tonight that they’ve traded Baumann and Triple-A Norfolk catcher Michael Pérez to the Mariners for catcher Blake Hunt. Hunt was optioned to Norfolk.

Hunt, 25, is batting .293/.372/.533 with four doubles, a triple, four home runs, 20 RBIs, six walks and 15 runs scored in 23 games with Triple-A Tacoma. He’s also been hit by four pitches.

He knows how to get on base.

The Padres made Hunt the 69th-overall selection in the 2017 draft out of Mater Dei (Ca.) High School, and they packaged him in a trade to the Rays three years later for left-hander Blake Snell. Seattle acquired him in November 2023 for catcher Tatem Levins.

Hunt is a career .247/.327/.402 hitter in 422 minor league games. He threw out two of 18 runners attempting to steal this season and has nabbed 25.7 percent in his career. He’s also registered a .988 fielding percentage.

MLB Pipeline ranked Hunt, who’s never played in the majors, as the Mariners’ No. 23 prospect.

Baumann was designated for assignment on Saturday to make room for Grayson Rodriguez to come off the injured list. It wasn’t about performance. The bullpen only has a few optionable pieces, and the Orioles weren’t going to send down Yennier Cano or Keegan Akin.

Baumann didn’t allow a run in three straight appearances and five of six to lower his ERA to 3.44 with a 1.473 WHIP in 17 games and 18 1/3 innings. He went 10-1 with a 3.76 ERA in 60 appearances over 64 2/3 innings in 2023.

The Orioles drafted Baumann in the third round in 2017 out of Jacksonville University. He appeared in 94 games, making four starts before they settled on a shorter relief role for him last spring, and posted a 4.45 ERA and 1.437 WHIP.

He also became one of the more popular players in the clubhouse.

"It was tough,” Cole Irvin said earlier this week. “He’s arguably one of my closer friends in the clubhouse, and to see him go stinks, but he’s going to be a huge asset for another club. We all know how good he is and how good he can be. Some of us were joking about how he’s going to be closing for some team this year at the end of the year because he’s got that stuff.

“We kind of had a logjam here. I’m excited for his opportunities, I’m excited for his continued success at the big league level. Sucks to lose a guy who’s such a good teammate and person in the clubhouse that everyone enjoys being around. It hurts that side of things a little bit, but not anything that’s going to take us out of our roles. But he’s going to be missed by us, for sure.”

Pérez has spent some time in the majors this season on the taxi squad. He was in Norfolk’s lineup tonight before Maverick Handley pinch-hit for him.

The Orioles signed Pérez, who was batting .215 with a .603 OPS, to a minor league deal on Dec. 30.

Hunt is joining Handley and Davie Bañuelos at Triple-A. Bañuelos, however, has spent the bulk of the season on the Orioles taxi squad.

The 40-man roster is holding 39 players.


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Vespi returns to Norfolk

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