There's not much point in having empty 40-man roster spots, even in the offseason. This seems to be the operating philosophy of Dan Duquette this year, at any rate, because he has set himself to the task of acquiring every player he finds remotely intriguing who has been designated for assignment as teams add newer, hipper players to their 40-man rosters and cast off the fodder of yesteryear.
The latest acquisition, according to Giants beat reporter and former Jeopardy contestant Andrew Baggarly, is catcher Johnny Monell, whom the O's have received in exchange for "cash considerations." Baggarly reported that the Giants have announced the trade. The Orioles have not, probably because they're out doing their Christmas shopping or something. I hope you want them to give you some scrub. They are getting plenty of those from all over.
What those cash considerations are is not known. Teams apparently hold to some kind of old aristocratic attitude that the public discussion of money is vulgar. It's unlikely to be any significant dollar amount, probably $50,000 or less.
Monell will be 28 by next Opening Day and had been a career minor leaguer before getting into eight games for the Giants in 2013. It was also his first full season at Triple-A. In 121 games, he batted .275/.364/.494, which seems impressive enough, though it's always worth remembering that the Pacific Coast League tends to have inflated offensive numbers.
As a 30th-round pick from way back in 2007, Monell has beaten the odds just by making it as far as he has. He bats left-handed and has at times demonstrated an awareness that not every pitch is in the strike zone. He had 59 walks in his 481 plate appearances, which is more walks than all but Chris Davis had on the 2013 Orioles.
For the competition for a guy to ride the pine and maybe catch one game a week behind Matt Wieters, he's as good as anyone the O's are likely to have in that role. Apparently that was enough for Duquette to want to get his hands on Monell when he became available.
Monell appears to have minor league options remaining. The Giants had never added him to the 40-man roster before calling him up in September. As a player to stash in case something goes awry, rather than someone who has to make the team or be cast off, that's even better. Of course, knowing Duquette, this is the exact sort of player who could find himself designated for assignment yet again before spring training even opens up.
In a related story, the Orioles hate Caleb Joseph.