It’s not exactly a move that is going to get Saturday’s Fanfest rocking, but the Orioles added a player to their 40-man roster Friday, acquiring infielder Engelb Vielma from the San Francisco Giants for cash or future considerations.
Vielma, 23, has never played in the majors, but he is considered an above-average defender and could be in the mix for the Orioles’ open utility infield job.
“Our scouts like Vielma’s tools and ability to play shortstop,” said Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette. “He is young and talented.”
He’s also been well traveled in the past few months.
Originally signed by the Minnesota Twins out of Venezuela, Vielma spent six seasons in that organization, hitting a combined .253 with a .316 on-base percentage. Last year, the switch-hitter batted .229 in 121 games at Triple-A Rochester and Double-A Chattanooga, and was waived by the Twins in September.
He was claimed off waivers by the Giants, who then lost him via waivers to the Philadelphia Phillies, who lost him to the Pittsburgh Pirates. After the Pirates put him on waivers earlier this month, the Giants reclaimed him. And now they’ve dealt him to the Orioles, who don’t have a set utility player behind infielders Manny Machado, Tim Beckham, Jonathan Schoop and Chris Davis.
Vielma, who has multiple minor league options remaining, has primarily played shortstop in his career, but also has logged time at second base and third.
The Orioles didn’t have a utility player on the roster – assuming they won’t use Beckham in that role – but several in the organization, including Luis Sardinas and Ruben Tejada, are expected to vie with Vielma for the spot in spring training.
The club’s 40-man roster, now at 39, includes 24 pitchers.