With the Orioles having three open spots on the 40-man roster, there was really nothing else for Dan Duquette to do but start finding random guys from anywhere to fill those spots. He must have started at the top of the alphabet in acquiring a left-handed pitcher, 23-year-old Jayson Aquino, from the Cardinals in exchange for cash considerations.
Aquino was designated for assignment by the Cardinals on Saturday. This is not his first rodeo. Aquino has been designated for assignment five times since last January. The Rockies signed him out of the Dominican Republic, eventually added him to the 40-man roster prior to the 2013 Rule 5 draft, but since he's only thrown two innings above Double-A, they couldn't keep him forever and they sent him to the great DFA in the sky.
From there, Aquino bounced to the Blue Jays in a minor trade, but was DFA'd by them last May. A cash trade sent Aquino to the Pirates, who kept him until July, when he was DFA'd again. A second cash trade sent him to the Indians, who kept Aquino until December. The Cardinals claimed Aquino off of waivers and kept him until the latest DFA.
So the Orioles are the latest team to take a chance on Aquino. It's not like they have any left-handed starting pitchers in the big league rotation, so why not take a chance on the guy when he's there basically for free? There's room on the 40-man roster. They can always DFA him later, as plenty of other teams have done. If he works out, great.
Don't expect him to work out. If any idiot can look at a player and see he's going to be successful, he doesn't get DFA'd five times in 15 months. Still, there's a reason why teams keep claiming or acquiring him, too, and we know that Duquette isn't afraid to make use of the roster fringes. Probably we'll never think about Aquino again. But if we do think of him again, this will be one of those Duquette moves.
Aquino pitched to a 3.28 ERA across three organizations, all at the High-A level, last season. He struck out 86 batters while walking only 30 in 137.1 innings. That's a low strikeout rate, but also a low walk rate. So he gets a lot of contact. If he has a history of getting ground balls, or if the O's think they can make such an adjustment for him, that would likely explain the acquisition.
The Orioles have optioned Aquino to Bowie. That means they'll be challenging him at a higher level than he's ever played before. It's time to challenge him, though, because Aquino is going to be out of options after this season.