NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — One Orioles’ free-agent domino reportedly falls – and falls to an American League East rival.
Infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce is headed to the Toronto Blue Jays on a two-year, $12.5 million deal pending physical, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
It will be the fourth AL East team that Pearce has played for – he’s never been a part of the Boston Red Sox organization.
Pearce, 33, has played for the Orioles in every season from 2012 to last year. He left as a free agent last winter, and then was re-acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays in July. The Orioles sent catching prospect Jonah Heim to the Rays for Pearce’s services.
Pearce wasn’t fully healthy with the Orioles, though, dealing with a forearm tendon injury that eventually required surgery in September.
He batted .217 with a .329 on-base percentage in 20 games with the Orioles. Overall, in parts of five seasons with the Orioles, Pearce hit .255 with a .337 on-base percentage in 999 plate appearances.
He was a favorite of manager Buck Showalter’s for his work ethic, defensive versatility and willingness to fill any team need (including second base, at one point in 2015), and Showalter said on several occasions that he’d like Pearce back if the situation warranted it.
Pearce is the second Orioles’ free agent to agree to a deal this winter. Lefty Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Chicago Cubs last week.