The Baltimore Orioles currently lead the American League East by eight full games. The division is clearly theirs to lose and to prevent that, the O’s went and snagged a pair of veterans.
In two separate deals, Baltimore acquired Alejandro De Aza (above) from the Chicago White Sox and Kelly Johnson from the Boston Red Sox. For De Aza, the O’s sent minor leaguers Miguel Chalas and Mark Blackmar (both pitchers) to the Pale Hose. For the season, De Aza owns a .243/.309/.354 slashline with 5 HR and 31 RBI. He also has 15 steals.
Baltimore will be the third team Johnson has played for this season. This past winter, he was signed as a free agent by the New York Yankees. He was shipped to the Red Sox in the Stephen Drew trade. He once again lands with an AL East team, but this time, he’s with the team on top of the standings. In 87 games, Johnson’s slash is .212/.290/.354 with 6 HR and 23 RBI.
Getting both De Aza and Johnson will provide the Orioles with some much-needed depth at multiple positions. De Aza has the capability to play all three outfield positions. Johnson also has defensive versatility to offer.
With Manny Machado done for the 2014 season, O’s manager Buck Showalter had moved Steve Pearce from his usual left field position to man first base and shifted Chris Davis across the diamond to third. Now, Showalter can move both Pearce and Davis to their “normal” defensive positions and utilize Johnson at third if he so chooses.
But since the Orioles are playing at a decent clip without Machado and these defensive switches, would Buck dare to “upset the ship”?