Baltimore Orioles: O’s sign Johnny Giavotella to minor-league deal

With the Baltimore Orioles in need of backup depth in the infield, the team signed Johnny Giavotella to a minor-league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a minor-league deal with second baseman Johnny Giavotella, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports. If Giavotella makes the Major League roster, he will earn up to $1.1 Million annually. The deal also includes incentives.

Giavotella is expected to compete for a bench role in Spring Training behind starters Jonathan Schoop, Manny Machado and Chris Davis.

If Giavotella fails to make the roster, he can ask for a release on March 27th. If Giavotella decides to begin the season in the minors and isn’t called up during the season, he’s allowed to ask for a release on July 31st.

Giavotella spent part of the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as their near-regular second baseman. During the 2015 season, Giavotella hit .272/.318/.375. However, his numbers tailed off last season which forced the Angels to go in a different direction.

The Angels outrighted Giavotella after he hit .260/.287/.376 in 367 plate appearances in 2016. Despite hitting well in his brief stint in Triple-A, the Angels decided against calling him up when rosters expanded in September. Because Giavotella was outrighted, he was allowed to elect free agency once the season ended.

The move bolsters the Orioles depth at the infield position, without the pressure of commitment. It’s possible Giavotella competes with Orioles utility man Ryan Flaherty in Spring Training this year, but it’s more likely the Orioles stick with Flaherty. Flaherty’s left-handed bat perfectly compliments the slew of right-handed bats in the lineup.

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Even if Flaherty is the backup infielder going into the season, the Orioles could find a way to fit both Flaherty and Giavotella on the roster. But it all depends if Giavotella can hit his way into the situation.

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