The Baltimore Orioles have been quiet most of this offseason, but they made a move yesterday, signing former top prospect Jesus Montero to a minor league contract.
It has been a relatively quiet offseason for the Baltimore Orioles. Indeed, their only significant signing has been Welington Castillo to a one year contract. If anything, bringing Roger McDowell in as a pitching coach may be their most significant move.
Yesterday, however, the Orioles showed that they are still alive down in Baltimore. While it may not rate as a significant move, the Orioles have signed former top prospect Jesus Montero to a minor league deal. They will, however, have some time before getting to see Montero in action next year, as he is still in the midst of a 50 game suspension after testing positive for a stimulant.
Montero is still an interesting signing. It was not that long ago where he was considered one of the top prospects in baseball, considered the third best prospect in the game prior to 2011. Since then, his star has faded, as he struggled during his time with the Mariners. Traded for Michael Pineda, Montero posted a .247/.285/.383 batting line with 24 home runs over parts of four seasons in Seattle. Not only did he struggle with the bat, but his attitude had burned virtually every bridge with the organization.
After being released by the Mariners prior to the 2016 season, Montero spent the entire 2016 in the Blue Jays farm system. He performed well in Buffalo, hitting at a .317/.349/.438 clip with 11 home runs and 24 doubles. That production gives hope that Montero can still be a useful piece at the Major League level.
With the Orioles currently possessing a hole at designated hitter, Montero may get a long look during Spring Training. His power potential cannot be overlooked, especially as the Orioles look to replace the production from Mark Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez from last year.
Baltimore may well be the perfect place for Montero to end up. After his performance last year in AAA, he is just looking for an opportunity to show he can still produce. Meanwhile, the Orioles need a low cost option to fill the designated hitter role, which Montero could provide.