The Orioles handled some contract business this afternoon, reaching agreement with left-hander Tucker Davidson on a deal for the 2024 season.
Davidson already was in the organization after they claimed him on waivers from the Royals back on Oct. 25. He’s part of 40-man roster that holds 38 players.
Today’s signing sets Davidson’s salary as a pre-arbitration eligible player. These transactions usually happen in January but can be done earlier.
Davidson, who turns 28 in March, used to be a notable prospect in the Braves system after his selection in the 19th round of the 2016 draft out of Midland College in Texas. He was traded to the Angels on Aug. 2, 2022 and had his contract purchased by the Royals a year later.
Davidson has appeared in 55 major league games over parts of four seasons, making 17 starts, and gone 3-10 with a 5.98 ERA and 1.616 WHIP over 125 innings. He’s registered a 3.06 ERA and 1.287 WHIP in 110 games in the minors and averaged 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Orioles could toss Davidson into the pile of left-handed relievers in spring training with only one of his 38 appearances this summer being as a starter. He compiled a 5.96 ERA and 1.617 WHIP in 51 1/3 innings.
His 44.2 percent ground ball rate was around league average, and he ranked in the 81st percentile in limiting hard contact.
Left-handers Cionel Pérez and Danny Coulombe should be locks for the 2024 bullpen, and DL Hall could stay in that role after switching again this summer, though the Orioles keep expressing a preference to develop him as a starter. Cole Irvin, Keegan Akin, Bruce Zimmermann and Nick Vespi also are on the 40-man roster.
Irvin made 12 starts and 12 relief appearances this season. Zimmermann underwent core muscle surgery last month and is expected to be ready for spring training.
Davidson is out of options, and his new contract doesn’t guarantee residence on the 40-man throughout the winter and spring. But the salary is determined after he made $740,000 this year.
The first year of arbitration eligibility arrives before his 2025 season.