Chris Marrero, released by the Nationals earlier this fall, has found a new home just up the road: Baltimore.
The Orioles have signed the 25-year-old first baseman to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, according to Baseball America.
Marrero, the Nationals’ highly touted first-round pick in the 2006 draft, was outrighted off the club’s 40-man roster on October 24 after a disappointing eight seasons with the organization during which time he hit just .232 in 39 big-league games. He continued to be a productive offensive player at Class AAA, hitting a collective .281 with a .353 on-base percentage over parts of three seasons at Syracuse, though his power numbers (25 homers) remained a disappointment.
Whether Marrero can finally realize his potential in Baltimore remains to be seen. The Orioles obviously are set at first base with Chris Davis, who mashed a club-record 53 homers this year, but their designated hitters were woefully unproductive, hitting a collective .234 with a .289 on-base percentage.
Marrero will need to prove he can hit big-league pitching for average, but he’ll also need to prove he can hit for power the way he was expected when the Nationals touted him as the organization’s top prospect.