While the Orioles haven’t signed any major league free agents, they certainly have been busy scouring the baseball outbacks for prospects.
On Monday, they purchased the contract of left-handed pitcher Chase Mahon of the Frontier League’s Gateway Grizzlies. The 24-year-old Mahon was 2-1 with a 2.52 ERA in 33 games for the independent league team.
The Grizzlies play in Sauget, Illinois and some of their opponents are the Traverse City (Mich.) Beach Bums and the River City Rascals. The Rascals play in that baseball hotbed, O’Fallon, Missouri.
One of Mahon’s teammates was John Shelby III, the son of the former Orioles outfielder and first base coach.
Mahon’s organized baseball career experience is just 18 days. After being drafted in the 22nd round by Colorado in 2011, he pitched in five games for Casper in the Pioneer League, allowing three runs in six innings.
The Orioles also signed Chase Johnson, a beefy right-handed pitcher. The 6-foot-4, 245 lb. Johnson is also 24, but he has a little more experience than Mahon. A 21st round pick of the Phillies in 2009, Johnson played three seasons in Philadelphia’s organization, reaching Lakewood of the South Atlantic League.
He was 5-5 with a 3.66 ERA in 44 games for independent league Amarillo with 11 saves.
Last year, Johnson was a teammate of former Texas Rangers’ right-hander Wes Littleton, who pitched for Buck Showalter in 2006.
While these signings are probably insignificant, the Orioles have some worthwhile experience with independent league players. Lew Ford, who hadn’t played in the majors for nearly five years, was signed from the Long Island Ducks. Stu Pomeranz, who pitched briefly with the Orioles before suffering a season-ending oblique strain, pitched in independent leagues in 2009.