The Orioles keep whittling their offseason shopping list, with pitching and maybe a defensive-minded center fielder the remaining priorities. The latter only on a minor league contract.
Seeking a fourth catcher to provide depth and camp competition, the Orioles today announced the signing of veteran Bryan Holaday to a minor league deal. He’s going to be included on the list of invites.
Holaday, 32, is a career .241/.287/.340 hitter in parts of eight major league seasons since the Tigers drafted him in the sixth round in 2010 out of Texas Christian University. He spent the past two summers with the Marlins, slashing .278/.344/.435 with six doubles and four home runs in 43 games.
The professional resume also includes a combined 43 games with the Rangers and Red Sox in 2016 and a return to the Tigers organization in 2017.
The Phillies released Holaday in March 2017 after signing him as a free agent.
Holaday has thrown out 30 percent of runners in his career and nabbed 17 of 38 (45 percent) in 2018. He’s also appeared in two games at second base and one each at first base and third base and in left field.
If the Orioles run short of emergency pitchers, Holaday has logged 3 2/3 innings over four appearances on the mound and allowed three runs and four hits.
Holaday, who won the Johnny Bench Award as the best collegiate catcher in his senior season, is going to compete with Pedro Severino, Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns for a spot on the opening day roster. Severino is out of options and the most likely to stay.
Sisco is the only left-handed hitter in the group.
Holaday has never played more than 62 games in a season and definitely profiles as a backup.
The Orioles won’t hold a reunion with Caleb Joseph, who remains a free agent. The sides spoke again last week without consummating a deal.
Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias already has addressed the middle infield by signing José Iglesias to a one-year deal that guarantees $3 million and includes a $3.5 million option for 2021. Elias also signed right-hander Kohl Stewart, who will compete for a spot in the rotation, and claimed utility infielder Richard Ureña off waivers.
Elias said recently that he’s been engaging in trade talks and keeps checking the waiver wire.