The ongoing MLB lockout prevent teams from signing players to major league contracts.
However, they can make minor league signings to fill their affiliates.
That’s precisely what happened on Wednesday, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Infielder/outfielder Shed Long is in agreement with the Baltimore Orioles on a minor league contract, a source familiar with the deal tells ESPN. Long, 26, spent the last three seasons with the Seattle Mariners, who outrighted him in October. He chose free agency and is now an O.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 16, 2022
The Baltimore Orioles secured the services of versatile player Shed Long Jr. on a minor league deal.
“Long, 26, spent the last three seasons with the Seattle Mariners, who outrighted him in October. He chose free agency and is now an O,” Passan reported.
Long is precisely the kind of signing a franchise like the Orioles, with nothing to lose, should be making.
Some of Long’s former prospect luster is now off after a few underwhelming seasons in the majors.
He matured as a ballplayer in the Cincinnati Reds’ farm system, and was a respected second base prospect.
His power and speed impressed scouts, and you could see teams valued him as a prospect after the New York Yankees traded pitcher Sonny Gray to the Reds for Long’s services.
He was later flipped to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for outfield prospect Josh Stowers.
A Failed Prospect, With Some Upside
The M’s gave him the chance of making his MLB debut in 2019, and he impressed with a .263/.333/.454 line, five home runs, and three stolen bases in 168 plate appearances.
That .787 OPS gave him more opportunities in 2020 and 2021, but he couldn’t take advantage (.533 and .619 OPS each year, respectively).
Seattle outrighted him in October, needing the spot on the 40-man roster.
It was the perfect chance for the O’s to pounce.
Capable of playing second base, third base, and left field, Baltimore will surely find some playing time for him.
Still only 26, that may be all he needs to fully blossom.