SARASOTA, Fla. — In the second of two veteran additions the Orioles announced Wednesday, Baltimore picked up infielder Kolten Wong, a left-handed hitter who could compete for a roster spot even among an infield crowded by prospects.

Wong, just like right-hander Julio Teherán, was signed to a minor league deal with an invite to major league spring training. Teherán’s deal, which a source said would be worth $2 million should he make the majors, includes an opt-out clause.

Because Wong is a free agent with at least six years of MLB service time and finished the previous season on a club’s 40-man roster or 60-day injured list, he has an automatic opt-out clause. Should Wong not make the opening day roster, he could remain in the organization if he chooses not to opt out of his contract, or if the Orioles agree to pay him a retention bonus of $100,000, as per MLB guidelines.

The 33-year-old Wong, known for his defensive acumen, won two Gold Glove awards earlier in his career and has had decent production at the plate. But his offensive output fell off last season. Wong hit .183 in 87 games with the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Wong performed at a higher level in 2022 with the Milwaukee Brewers, when he posted a .770 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He spent most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, even overlapping with seven-time All-Star Matt Holliday. Now, he could be competing for an infield job in Baltimore against Holliday’s son, Jackson Holliday, the top prospect in baseball.

Baltimore’s infield competition is fierce, even after shortstop Joey Ortiz was sent to the Brewers as part of a trade to acquire ace Corbin Burnes. Holliday is pushing for a major league debut and has mostly played second base during camp. While he has only had a handful of plate appearances, Holliday has struck out in five of his seven at-bats so far — which isn’t too much of a worry, considering the limited sample size.

There’s also infield prospect Connor Norby who can play second, and Coby Mayo is in the running at third base.

The Orioles have made a habit of acquiring veteran second basemen the past few seasons. In 2022, Rougned Odor played 135 games with Baltimore. Adam Frazier held the position in 2023 and played 141 games.

A waiver move

The Orioles announced that outfielder Sam Hilliard was claimed off waivers by the Colorado Rockies. The move opens a spot on Baltimore’s 40-man roster, which now sits at 39 players.

Andy Kostka is an Orioles beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Orioles for The Baltimore Sun. Kostka graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Rockville.

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