Orioles sign Dilson Herrera to minor league deal

The Orioles made a move this afternoon to increase their infield depth and perhaps provide another roster option in spring training.

Maintaining a busy schedule this week with the Winter Meetings approaching, the Orioles signed 25-year-old utility player Dilson Herrera to a minor league contract.

Herrera spent the 2019 season in Triple-A, where he hit .248/.330/.501 with 29 doubles, 24 home runs and 64 RBIs in 117 games with the Mets affiliate in Syracuse. His last tour in the majors came the previous summer with the Reds, when he appeared in 53 games and went 16-for-87 (.184) with five doubles and five home runs.

Herrera-Swings-Reds-Sidebar.jpgInfielders are part of the shopping list that executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias is bringing to San Diego. Herrera has made 52 starts in the majors at second base, two at third and seven in left field. He’s made the majority of his minor league appearances at second and also has played the other infield positions and the outfield corners.

The bat hasn’t offered much over parts of three seasons in the majors, including stints with the Mets from 2014-15. He’s slashed .203/.293/.394 with 11 home runs in 266 plate appearances, but is a career .289/.354/.465 hitter with 100 home runs in 819 minor league games spread over nine seasons.

Herrera, a right-handed hitter, was included in the Jay Bruce trade between the Mets and Reds in August 2016. He returned to the Mets organization as a free agent in 2018, was opted out of his contract in July 2019 and agreed to another contract two days later.

He opted out again in September and entered the free agent market.

His resume also includes selection to the 2013 All-Star Futures Game.

Herrera could compete for a utility job next spring and the Orioles are especially soft in the middle infield after trading Jonathan Villar to the Marlins on Monday. They haven’t decided whether to keep shortstop Richie Martin or option him to Triple-A Norfolk.

No one in the minors is viewed as a solid candidate to break camp with the team, though Mason McCoy and Rylan Bannon are on the team’s radar.

The Orioles claimed Pat Valaika off waivers from the Rockies to provide some competition. The 40-man roster also includes Hanser Alberto, who’s been tendered a contract, and Stevie Wilkerson.

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