Orioles release Núñez, claim Shaw and DFA Eshelman

With the Orioles unable to negotiate a trade prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, Renato Núñez has moved into the next phase of his offseason.

Núñez cleared unconditional waivers and was given his release this afternoon, enabling him to enter free agency as a power bat with experience at the infield corners.

The Orioles had no plans to tender Núñez a contract with a projected arbitration raise of more than $2 million. They designated him for assignment on Friday while setting their 40-man roster for the Rule 5 draft.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias hoped to work out a deal for Núñez, 26, but teams may be reluctant to spend in a pandemic for a player who doesn’t offer much defensively and projects more as a designated hitter.

Núñez led the Orioles with 43 home runs and slugged .469 the past two summers, but also owns a .314 on-base percentage and is prone to lengthy slumps. Elias noted that Núñez no longer was a good fit.

Thumbnail image for Tom-Eshelman-Deals-vs-TB-White-Sidebar.jpgThere were other moves today, with the Orioles claiming first baseman/outfielder Chris Shaw on waivers from the Giants and designating pitcher Thomas Eshelman for assignment.

Shaw, 27, as drafted in the first round in 2015 out of Boston College. He’s appeared in 38 games with the Giants in 2018-19 and gone 11-for-72 (.153) with two doubles and a home run.

Shaw is a left-handed hitter who made 15 starts in left field and one at first base.

The bat has been much more productive in the minors, where Shaw slashed .279/.340/.520 with 109 home runs in five seasons. He had 27 doubles and 28 home runs with 94 RBIs in 2019 over 120 games with Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento.

The Giants made Shaw the 31st overall pick in 2015 and designated him for assignment on Friday.

Eshelman can decline an outright assignment if he clears waivers and elect free agency. He tied Travis Lakins Sr. for the team lead in wins this summer with three and posted a 3.89 ERA and 1.240 WHIP in 12 games - including four starts.

The next wave of young pitching anticipated to reach the majors figured to keep Eshelman on the 40-man bubble and perhaps end his tenure with the club. Elias can attempt to trade him.

The 40-man roster remains full and a spot will need to be cleared if the Orioles want to select a player in the Rule 5 draft.

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