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Orioles call up Stefan Crichton, designate Oliver Drake for assignment

The Orioles roster wheel spins once again, replacing a struggling reliever with no options with a new guy who has options.

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Stefan Crichton is not the guy who wrote Jurassic Park but rather the newest Orioles player. The O’s selected the righty reliever’s contract from Norfolk on Thursday, shipping him up to join the team in Toronto. Adding Crichton to the 40-man roster means someone must come off, and so Oliver Drake was sent to the great DFA in the sky.

If you haven’t heard of Crichton, that’s OK. The 25-year-old was originally a 23rd round pick out of Texas Christian University in the 2013 draft. He’s been climbing the ladder in the system ever since, a multi-inning reliever pitching without particular distinction.

Crichton seems to have made his mark this spring training, when he appeared in eight games with the big club and did not allow a run in eight innings. These outings appear to have been after the photographers went to sleep because no picture of him exists in our editor.

That doesn’t mean a whole lot, but the spring training success does suggest that it’s worth the team giving Crichton a shot over Drake, who was not good in spring and hasn’t looked good in his limited regular season action either.

In the end, this is probably more about getting flexibility than getting any particular performance upgrade out of this roster spot. Drake was the odd man out in the bullpen by virtue of not really fitting into any role - neither a late-inning high-leverage reliever nor a long reliever.

Only the roster shenanigans allowed the Orioles by so many early off days kept Drake from an end of spring DFA. That’s because Drake has no minor league options remaining, and if he hadn’t been designated for assignment tonight, his time was probably coming on Saturday when the Orioles call up the fifth starter to the roster.

Crichton, whose contract has just been selected, can be freely optioned on Saturday and I suspect he will be. I also suspect they will get some use out of him either Thursday or Friday night before that happens.

The Orioles will have the standard seven days to decide what to do about Drake. Somebody might want him. If not, Drake has the right to refuse an outright assignment because he’s been outrighted from the 40-man roster before.