Pearce returns to Baltimore in deadline deal with Rays
The Orioles picked up their right-handed hitting outfielder Monday, and it’s a guy they know very well.
As the non-waiver trade deadline came to a close Monday at 4 p.m., the Orioles re-acquired the versatile Steve Pearce for minor league catching prospect Jonah Heim.
“Steve Pearce is a proven, versatile veteran player who gives our club more punch and stronger defense whenever he is in the lineup and a stronger bench when he is not,” Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette.
Pearce, who played for the Orioles from 2012 to 2015, left as a free agent this winter when the Orioles didn’t make much of an attempt to re-sign him. A native of Lakeland, Fla., he signed with the Tampa Bay Rays for a one-year, $4.75 million deal in January.
Pearce, 33, hit .309 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs in 204 at-bats this year for the Rays. He has played first base, second base and third base this year, but not in the outfield, where he started 40 games for the Orioles in 2015, primarily in left field.
He likely will be used in a super-utility role and get some starts in left against left-handed pitching while Hyun Soo Kim sits versus left-handers.
Heim, 21, is considered a strong defensive catcher but has struggled to hit in the minors. This year he was batting .216 with a .300 OBP and seven homers in 88 games at High-A Frederick. A fourth-round pick in 2013 out of high school in Amherst, New York, Heim was listed by Baseball America as the organization’s 15th best prospect heading into 2016. He was behind Double-A catcher Chance Sisco on the Orioles’ organizational depth chart.
Pearce likely will join the Orioles on Tuesday at Camden Yards when they play the Texas Rangers, who significantly improved themselves Monday by adding outfielder Carlos Beltran, catcher Jonathan Lucroy and reliever Jeremy Jeffress.
The Orioles also made a deal Sunday, acquiring lefty starter Wade Miley from the Seattle Mariners for Triple-A lefty Ariel Miranda.
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