Orioles acquire Steve Pearce from Rays

The Orioles made their second trade today just before the non-waiver deadline, acquiring outfielder Steve Pearce from the Rays for Single-A catcher Jonah Heim.

They were unable to find another starting pitcher or left-handed reliever, but they got a familiar bat.

Pearce, 33, will make his fourth tour in the organization if you count the two-day gap after they released him on April 27, 2014. He batted .309/.388/.520 with 11 doubles, a triple, 10 home runs and 29 RBIs in 60 games with the Rays after signing a one-year, $4.75 million deal as a free agent.

Pearce was 20-for-53 with four doubles, five home runs and 16 RBIs versus left-handers this season.

The Orioles didn’t show much interest in re-signing Pearce over the winter, but he always manages to find his way back. He’s batted .258/.338/.478 with 50 doubles, one triple, 43 home runs and 116 RBIs in 266 games with the Orioles, and he set career highs in 2014 with 26 doubles, 21 home runs and 49 RBIs in 102 games.

Health has been an issue for Pearce. He was on the disabled list this year with a strained right hamstring and has battled wrist injuries with the Orioles.

pearce-at-bat-white-close-day-game-sidebar.jpg“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,” executive vice president Dan Duquette wrote in a text message.

Heim, a fourth-round pick in the 2013 draft, was batting .216/.300/.344 with 14 doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 30 RBIs in 88 games with Single-A Frederick. He’s a plus-defender and a favorite of manager Buck Showalter. So is Pearce.

The Orioles were hoping to deal from their catching depth in the system rather than keep running into teams demanding pitching prospects in return.

It’s worth another reminder, as I wrote yesterday, that plenty of trades are consummated in August. Players must pass through waivers first, which happens with regularity.

The Orioles still can find rotation depth and a left-handed reliever later this month. The acquisition must come before Sept. 1 to be included on the postseason roster.

The Orioles maintained interest in Twins left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, but the Red Sox acquired him today for right-handed reliever Pat Light.

Abad is holding left-handers to a .163 average this season, with only eight hits in 49 at-bats. He’s remembered by Orioles fans for the pitch in 2014 that led Manny Machado to throw his bat in the general direction of third base.

The Orioles also like Boone Logan, but the Rockies are holding onto him. Left-handers are hitting .139 against him and right-handers are hitting .176.

Logan appeared in all three games of the July 25-27 series at Camden Yards and retired all four batters he faced with two strikeouts.

The Orioles concluded their series in Toronto with a three-man bench and 13 pitchers. They’ve added Pearce and starter Wade Miley and will need to make two corresponding moves.

They begin a three-game series against the Rangers Tuesday night at Camden Yards, and the opposing lineup will include outfielder Carlos Beltran, acquired today from the Yankees, and catcher Jonathan LuCroy, acquired from the Brewers.

Beltran is 10-for-34 with two doubles and two home runs against the Orioles this season and owns a career .294/.358/.473 slash line with 18 doubles and 10 home runs in 71 games.

LuCroy is 3-for-12 with a double in three career games against the Orioles.

The Blue Jays acquired former Orioles right-hander Scott Feldman from the Astros. He’s back in the division.

The Orioles haven’t revealed when Miley will make his debut, though Showalter most certainly has picked out a date. They’ve announced Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Yovani Gallardo as their starters against the Rangers.

Bundy drew plenty of interest from teams at the non-waiver deadline. He isn’t untouchable, but the return wasn’t worth it to the Orioles.

Hunter Harvey’s ligament-reconstructive surgery removed him as a potential trade chip.

Note: The Orioles promoted catcher Yermin Mercedes from low Single-A Delmarva to Frederick as Heim’s replacement.

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