Shortly after Dan Duquette arrived on campus, he signed his first free agent. It was Matt Antonelli. Orioles fans were skeptical. Antonelli was a career minor leaguer with 57 major league at-bats and a history of injuries.
They thought Antonelli was signed just because Duquette was familiar with him. Both were products of Massachusetts.
Antonelli, Ryan Flaherty and Steve Tolleson were the competitors for the utility infielder’s spot. Flaherty was taken in the Rule 5 draft a few weeks later, and Tolleson signed as a minor league free agent.
Flaherty won the job, and both Antonelli and Tolleson headed to Norfolk. By mid-May, the Orioles had seen enough of Antonelli, and he was let go.
He was picked up by the Yankees for their Triple-A team in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but he didn’t last long there. He batted .201 in 44 games in Triple-A, and now according to the indispensable Matt Eddy of Baseball America, Antonelli gets another shot, signing a minor league deal with Cleveland.
Duquette may occasionally sign players he’s familiar with, but he has no loyalty to them. If someone doesn’t perform, he’ll let them go.
Eddy also reports that Jim Hoey, who was sent to the Twins in the J.J. Hardy deal, was signed to a minor league deal by Milwaukee.