Orioles re-sign one role player, lose another

February 07, 2018 | Luke Jones

The Orioles have yet to make a significant free-agent addition this offseason, but they did re-sign a role player from last year’s club on Wednesday.

Outfielder Craig Gentry has agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Baltimore also inked left-handed pitchers Elvis Araujo and David Holmberg to minor-league deals.

A favorite of manager Buck Showalter, Gentry hit .257 with two home runs, five doubles, 11 runs batted in, and a .719 on-base plus slugging percentage in 117 plate appearances last season. The 34-year-old started games at all three outfield positions and stole five bases in nine attempts. He was limited to pinch-running duty after breaking a finger in early September.

The Orioles are still looking for a left-handed bat in the outfield, but Gentry does provide speed and versatility despite his limitations at the plate.

Wednesday also brought the end of utility player Ryan Flaherty’s run in Baltimore as he agreed to a deal with Philadelphia, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The Orioles had expressed some interest in retaining his services this offseason, but Flaherty was limited to just 23 games in 2017 because of a shoulder injury and made $1.8 million in his final year of arbitration.

Selected from the Chicago Cubs organization in the 2011 Rule 5 draft, Flaherty was a career .215 hitter for the Orioles, but his versatility was his biggest strength as he could play all four infield positions, the corner outfield spots, and was even tabbed as the club’s emergency catcher.

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Sarasota for the start of spring training next week, but executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has yet to make a meaningful addition to a starting rotation that ranked last in the majors in ERA last season. The Orioles have maintained interest in a number of free-agent starting pitchers from Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb to Andrew Cashner and Jason Vargas, but it remains to be seen whether owner Peter Angelos is willing to make the financial commitment to improve a rotation that was woefully inadequate last season and has long been the club’s Achilles heel.