Paredes is a 25-year-old who's appeared with the Astros in parts of the last three seasons, batting only .234/.274/.311 in 396 plate appearances across those three seasons. He's performed much better at the Triple-A level, with a .306/.347/.471 slash line in two seasons with Oklahoma City. That's a Pacific Coast League team, so there's going to be some level of inflated offense, but still, you can see where there's probably some potential that intrigues the Orioles.
With the claim of Paredes, he will go on the last open spot on the 40-man roster. That means that when (if?) the Suk-min Yoon contract is officially announced, some poor sod will be sent to the great DFA in the sky.
As for Paredes' potential role on the team:
Duquette likes Paredes' versatility. Can play INF and OF. Switch-hitter #orioles— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) February 15, 2014
Paredes has indeed stood with a glove at second base, third base, and right field at the major league level. He played second base the most while working his way up through the minors, and has seen some games at both shortstop and center field in the PCL over the last two seasons.
He was originally signed by the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic and sent to Houston along with Mark Melancon in the trade that brought Lance Berkman to New York.
This is probably one of those Duquette waiver claims that will amount to absolutely nothing. Maybe he does them because he's bored. Maybe he just can't stop the impulse to claim some random guy off waivers. Maybe he sees some shred of a useful player buried somewhere within Paredes and wants to give the Orioles a few weeks to try to bring out that player.
If he can play, they'll keep him around; if not, he'll find himself shipped out at the end of camp. Paredes is out of options, so he'll have to either stick or be sent through waivers again.