Showalter: We're trying to stay up with the best teams
In a surprising move, the Orioles re-signed infielder Alexi Casilla, who had been with them last season to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Casilla has an excellent chance to make the team as a backup infielder, and should Manny Machado not be available to start the season because of a slow recovery from offseason knee surgery, he could start at second while Ryan Flaherty plays third.
In 64 games with the Orioles, Casilla batted .214 with a home run and 10 RBIs. He stole nine bases in 11 attempts.
In his major league career, Casilla has stolen 80 of 91 bases.
“He’s a good, qualified major league infielder,” Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said on Friday night.
“He’s good defensive skills and is a good base stealer. He’s a versatile player. He adds depth. He gives us another infielder. Plus he fits in our ballclub. He knows our organization.”
Manager Buck Showalter praised Casilla, who earned $1.7 million last year in his first year with the Orioles after seven seasons with the Twins.
“There hasn’t been a better teammate in baseball than Alexi Casilla,” Showalter said on the season’s last day.
“He’s the one guy who I wished I’d been able to play him more. Whether it’s with us or somebody else, they’re going to get a good teammate and good player next year. He’s allowed us to do a lot of things that we couldn’t have done because of his versatility,” Showalter said.
Casilla’s season ended on Sept. 23, in the same game where Machado injured his knee. Casilla collided with Nick Markakis and suffered a concussion.
“Buck knows and understands his skill set,” Duquette said. “He’s a good player.”