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Orioles claim RHP Brice from Angels

Sinkerballer will compete for bullpen spot; Valera traded to Giants
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

In their first roster move of the new year, the Orioles added bullpen depth by claiming right-hander Austin Brice off waivers from the Angels on Friday. Brice was designated for assignment last week after Los Angeles signed free-agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

In Brice, the Orioles are taking a flier on a sinkerballer who owns a 5.68 ERA across 70 career appearances, all in relief. He pitched to a 5.40 mark across the past two seasons with the Reds, after being acquired in the January 2017 trade that sent Dan Straily to the Marlins.

In their first roster move of the new year, the Orioles added bullpen depth by claiming right-hander Austin Brice off waivers from the Angels on Friday. Brice was designated for assignment last week after Los Angeles signed free-agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

In Brice, the Orioles are taking a flier on a sinkerballer who owns a 5.68 ERA across 70 career appearances, all in relief. He pitched to a 5.40 mark across the past two seasons with the Reds, after being acquired in the January 2017 trade that sent Dan Straily to the Marlins.

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Brice never put it together in Cincinnati, where he struggled mightily at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park and underperformed his batted-ball metrics overall. His home-road splits last season were particularly notable: Opponents posted a .961 OPS against Brice at home, compared to a more pedestrian .756 mark everywhere else. He is a former starter with the ability to pitch multiple innings and throw four pitches, including a curveball that elicits above-average spin.

In Baltimore, Brice will compete for a job in a relief corps that posted a 4.78 ERA last season, second highest among AL clubs.

To clear space on the 40-man roster, the Orioles designated infielder Breyvic Valera for assignment but worked out a trade with the Giants for cash considerations on Saturday. 

However, Brice essentially takes the roster spot of Ryan Meisinger, another righty who profiles similarly. Meisinger was lost on a waiver claim to the Cardinals in December, on the same day the Orioles added Rio Ruiz on a waiver claim from the Braves.

Ruiz was the first of three infielders the Orioles acquired during the Winter Meetings, making Valera, who was originally acquired from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade, expendable. He could remain with the organization if he clears waivers.

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.

Baltimore Orioles, Austin Brice, Breyvic Valera