Orioles’ latest batch of minor league signings includes 2013 first-round catcher, veteran left-handed reliever

Nathan Ruiz, The Baltimore Sun

With the Orioles approaching the new year continuing their pursuit of young talent, they added some Monday through their latest batch of minor league signings.

Baltimore announced Monday that it agreed to minor league contracts with catcher Nick Ciuffo, the Tampa Bay Rays’ first-round pick in 2013, and pitchers Fernando Abad, Conner Greene and Claudio Custodio. Among the four, only Abad, a left-handed reliever, has considerable major league experience.

The Rays drafted Ciuffo, 25, with the 21st overall pick in 2013, one spot before the Orioles took right-hander Hunter Harvey. He had brief stints in the majors with Tampa Bay in 2018 and 2019, hitting his first and only major league home run off then-Oriole Dylan Bundy in his fourth career game. In 50 major league plate appearances, Ciuffo has hit .186 with a .529 OPS and has never had a full-season OPS above .704 in the minor leagues. He spent 2020 at the Texas Rangers’ alternate site but never joined the major league roster.

Abad, who turned 35 last week, has a 3.67 ERA across nine major league seasons. He has pitched only 13 major league innings over the past three years and spent 2020 at the New York Yankees’ alternate site. In 2014, Abad was involved in a benches-clearing incident after repeatedly throwing inside to then-Orioles infielder Manny Machado.

The Toronto Blue Jays selected Greene, 25, in the 2013 draft 1/4 u2032s seventh round and traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2018 as part of the package for outfielder Randal Grichuk, who has since plagued the Orioles. Greene reached St. Louis’ Triple-A affiliate that season, posting a 3.66 ERA after a move to the bullpen, but was then designated for assignment. He spent the next two seasons in the Kansas City Royals organization, spending most of the season as a starter in Double-A. Greene has pitched exclusively in relief at the Triple-A level, issuing 47 walks in 54 1/4 u2154 innings.

Custodio, 30, began his career as an infielder in the Yankees’ system but converted to pitching in 2015. From 2016 to 2019, he had a 2.84 ERA in 88 minor league outings with the Yankees, Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves.