BALTIMORE -- The Orioles dipped into the free-agent market when they finalized a Minor League deal Lance Cormier with an invitation to Spring Training on Tuesday. The Associated Press reported that Cormier, formerly of the D-backs and Braves, signed a contract that could be worth $450,000 if he makes the 40-man roster.
Cormier, a former fourth-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft, has spent most of his scattered big league tenure as a reliever. He's made Major League appearances in each of the last four seasons, logging 100 relief outings and 23 starts. Cormier has a career 14-18 record with a 5.98 ERA and last year went 2-6 with a 7.09 ERA in 10 games with Atlanta.
The 27-year-old may well provide some bullpen depth for the Orioles, who only have a few experienced arms lined up for their relief staff. Veteran holdovers Chad Bradford and Jamie Walker are expected to provide situational relief for Baltimore next season, and offseason waiver claim Greg Aquino is likely to make the team and work in early relief.
Swingman Brian Burres also returns for the Orioles, who lost both Chris Ray and Danys Baez to elbow surgeries that are expected to keep them out for the entire season. That's where Cormier, who has a 26-22 record and a 3.67 ERA in the Minor Leagues, figures to step in and make an impact. Cormier, a right-hander, has pitched at Triple-A for five straight seasons.
Cormier was removed from Atlanta's 40-man roster earlier this winter when the Braves signed Tom Glavine. Baltimore may also evaluate him as a potential starter, and incoming pitching coach Rick Kranitz will likely make the final call. Kranitz, who coached with the Marlins the last few seasons, will know what to expect from Cormier in Spring Training.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.