The Orioles have designated right-hander Andrew Politi for assignment, according to The Boston Globe’s Speier.
Politi, 26, was selected by Baltimore in last December’s Rule 5 Draft after spending the first five seasons of his professional career in the Red Sox organization.
In nine appearances for the Orioles this spring, Politi posted a 6.23 ERA and 1.38 WHIP with eight strikeouts to three walks over 8 2/3 innings of relief. Opposing hitters batted .265/.342/.588 off of him as well.
Because he did not make their Opening Day roster, the Orioles had no choice but to designate Politi for assignment given his status as a Rule 5 pick. If he clears waivers in the coming days, Politi will be offered back to the Red Sox for $50,000. Baltimore already gave Boston $100,000 in order to draft him.
Another team, in theory, could claim Politi off waivers. But that club would then be required to carry the righty on their active roster or major-league injured list for the entirety of the 2023 season. They would not have the ability to option him to the minor-leagues, either.
Given those somewhat challenging prerequisites, Politi could be returned to the Red Sox by the end of the week. If that does happen, Boston would be able to retain Politi’s services without needing to commit a 40-man roster spot to him.
Originally selected by the Red Sox in the 15th round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Seton Hall, Politi spent most of the 2022 minor-league season with Triple-A Worcester after earning a promotion from Double-A Portland in late May. In 38 outings (two starts) for the WooSox, the New Jersey native pitched to a 2.57 ERA with 63 strikeouts to 19 walks over 56 innings of work.
Despite those strong numbers, the Red Sox elected not to add Politi to their 40-man roster in November, leaving him unprotected and eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 Draft. At the time he was scooped up by the Orioles, Politi was ranked by SoxProspects.com as the No. 42 prospect in Boston’s farm system.
Politi, who turns 27 in June, operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a mid-90s four-seam fastball, a high-80s cutter, a mid-80s slider, and a low-80s curveball, per Baseball Savant. The 6-foot, 195-pound hurler would presumably re-join the Worcester bullpen if he does clear waivers and returns to the Red Sox.
In addition to Politi, the Red Sox also lost fellow righties Thad Ward (Nationals) and Noah Song (Phillies) in the Rule 5 Draft over the winter. Ward has had a solid spring and looks like a lock to make Washington’s Opening Day roster as a bullpen option. Song, on the other hand, has been sidelined by lower back tightness and is expected to begin the season on Philadelphia’s injured list.
(Picture of Andrew Politi: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)