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Richard Hidalgo signs with the Orioles

After receiving an offer a couple of weeks ago, Richard Hidalgo has decided to accept a minor league contract from the Orioles. He was hoping for a guaranteed big-league deal, but instead settled for a minor-league deal that could earn as much as $1 million plus incentives if he survives the spring training cuts and makes the team.


Hidalgo will fight for time with Luis Matos in left field, and his presence could keep Kevin Millar and Jeff Conine at first base and designated hitter. The right-handed hitter batted just .221 with 16 home runs for Texas last season, but he's still well known for the 44-homer season he put up in 2000. For his career, Hidalgo is a .269 hitter with 171 home runs in 987 games.

With Hidalgo joining Matos, Millar, Conine, Corey Patterson and David Newhan in the outfield mix, I think it's very unlikely a youngster like Val Majewski or Nick Markakis will make the team out of spring training. Of course, Majewski has been working out at first base, but he missed all of last year recovering from shoulder surgery and has yet to see a pitch at Triple-A.

I'd consider making a late-draft bid for Hidalgo -- in fact, I already did in an NL-only draft earlier this month. I'll lose him since he signed with an AL-only team, but he could be a cheap source of power. His batting average is obviously a concern, but if it gets too bad, he probably won't stay in Baltimore's starting lineup long enough to really hurt you.

Hidalgo signs Minor League deal []