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Orioles give former first-rounder Matt Antonelli a big-league deal

Nov 18, 2011, 6:29 PM EDT

Matt Antonelli AP

2006 first-round pick Matt Antonelli was a big bust for the Padres, but the Orioles apparently liked what he did with the Nationals’ Triple-A club last season. They signed him to a major league contract on Friday and will give him a chance to compete for a job in spring training.

Antonelli, who turns 27 in April, hit .297/.393/.460 with eight homers and a 59/47 K/BB ratio in 300 at-bats for Triple-A Syracuse.

For Antonelli, it was his first successful campaign since 2007. Baseball America rated him the game’s No. 50 prospect after that season, but he went on to hit .215/.335/.322 and .196/.300/.339 for the Padres’ Triple-A club the following two seasons. After he missed most of 2010 with a fractured hamate bone, he was non-tendered by the Padres and signed with Washington.

Strictly a third baseman and a second baseman beforehand, Antonelli got some time at shortstop and in left field last season, making him a more viable option as a utilityman. The Orioles can’t be certain they can count on Brian Roberts at second base and they’ll probably open up with the inconsistent Chris Davis at third base next year, so there might be an opportunity for Antonelli to gain substantial playing time if he wins a job.

  1. joeflaccosunibrow - Nov 18, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    I guess this means that the jersey on our first baseman will not say “Fielder”, but instead “Reynolds”.

    And I was hoping Santa would leave a present instead of a lump of coal.

  2. purnellmeagrejr - Nov 19, 2011 at 9:21 AM

    I object to calling Chris Davis inconsistent – OBP – right around .300 every year – like a machine he strikes out one in every three at bats regardless of how little or how much he’s used. Matt – usually I like your analysis – but you’re going to have to hang your inconsistent label on someone else who deserves it – like Dan Uggla or Adam Dunn. Davis has been a clockwork orange.

  3. dowhatifeellike - Nov 19, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    Another year of re-treads, has-beens, and never-weres. Can’t wait!

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