Tag Archive | "alejandro de aza"

De Aza last man standing in Orioles’ busy arbitration season

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De Aza last man standing in Orioles’ busy arbitration season

Posted on 08 February 2015 by Luke Jones

Orioles outfielder Alejandro De Aza is the last man standing on a docket that included 11 arbitration-eligible players to address this winter.

Most attention understandably has been placed on the free-agent departures of outfielders Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis and lefty reliever Andrew Miller, but the Orioles will have given more than $21 million in raises to De Aza, pitchers Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Bud Norris, Zach Britton, Tommy Hunter, and Brian Matusz, outfielder Steve Pearce, infielder Ryan Flaherty, first baseman Chris Davis, and catcher Matt Wieters this winter. It’s the reason why Baltimore’s payroll is estimated to rise from $107 million in 2014 to a projected $120 million despite minimal additions this offseason.

While the ongoing MASN dispute raises fair questions about owner Peter Angelos’ willingness to expand the payroll any further, the high volume of arbitration cases adds context to the losses of Cruz, Markakis, and Miller. Simply put, the Orioles are now paying the price for the cheap and productive labor they’ve received from the likes of Tillman, Gonzalez, Britton, and Pearce over the last couple seasons.

While the sting of this winter’s losses is apparent, the Orioles will be faced with even more difficult decisions next offseason when De Aza, Pearce, Davis, Wieters, Norris, and left-hander starter Wei-Yin Chen all become free agents.

De Aza is set to become the first Orioles player to go to a hearing since pitcher Brad Bergesen in 2012. The club has an impeccable record in arbitration cases, going 7-0 in cases handled by Russell Smouse, and hasn’t lost a hearing since pitcher Ben McDonald defeated the Orioles 20 years ago.

The left-handed hitter is projected by most to become the Orioles’ new leadoff hitter and asked for $5.65 million while the organization countered at $5 million. De Aza made $4.25 million last year in splitting time between the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore.

After being acquired a day before the waiver trade deadline on August 30, De Aza hit .293 with three home runs and 10 runs batted in over 89 plate appearances with the Orioles to close the regular season. He also hit .333 with three doubles and three RBIs in 21 postseason at-bats.

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Orioles come to terms with closer Britton

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Orioles come to terms with closer Britton

Posted on 04 February 2015 by Luke Jones

The Orioles resolved their penultimate arbitration case of the winter by coming to terms with left-handed closer Zach Britton on Wednesday.

According to MASN, the 27-year-old will make $3.2 million in base salary after emerging as the club’s closer a year ago. In 76 1/3 innings, Britton posted a 1.65 ERA and converted 37 of 41 save opportunities for the American League East champions.

With Britton working out of the bullpen for the first time after a few underwhelming seasons as a starter, his sinker reached the mid-to-high 90s working in relief as hitters struggled to square up his pitches. Britton finished the 2014 campaign ranked fourth in the American League in saves and became the 10th different Orioles pitcher to record a 30-save season in club history.

He made only $521,500 last season after he entered spring training with no assurance of even being on the 25-man roster and was out of minor-league options. When the sides exchanged figures earlier this offseason, Britton asked for $4.2 million while Baltimore countered with $2.2 million, meaning they split the difference as is often the case.

Outfielder Alejandro De Aza is the only remaining arbitration case for the Orioles to settle this offseason.

 

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Who should lead off for Orioles in 2015?

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Who should lead off for Orioles in 2015?

Posted on 03 February 2015 by Luke Jones

With spring training only a couple weeks away, Orioles manager Buck Showalter has a number of issues to sort out as it relates to his everyday lineup.

Most attention has centered around replacing outfielders Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz — Steve Pearce, Alejandro De Aza, David Lough, Delmon Young, and the newly-acquired Travis Snider are among the candidates — but identifying who will lead off in the Baltimore lineup is anyone’s guess at this point. However, it’s not a question over which the skipper is panicking in early February.

“Somebody’s going to lead off Opening Day, I bet you,” quipped Showalter, adding that he’s more concerned with having a strong bottom of the order than with who’s hitting first. “Our guys don’t talk about it a lot. I’ve told you many times, [you could] just take your best hitter and hit him first to get more at-bats.”

It’s that very mindset that led to Markakis first becoming a regular leadoff hitter during the 2012 season even though he stole only six bases over his final three seasons with the Orioles. No one would confuse the Orioles with a track team after they stole a league-worst 44 bases in 2014, so speed isn’t a prerequisite for replacing Markakis at the top of the order.

Among their current candidates, who should lead off for the Orioles in 2015?

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Of the possible options currently on the roster, De Aza carries the most experience hitting in the leadoff position with 296 career starts there, but Showalter said Saturday it would be wrong to simply assume it’s his job to lose this spring. His career .334 on-base percentage in the top spot of the order is just a touch higher than his career .330 OBP overall, but De Aza told reporters he feels comfortable leading off if that’s what the Orioles want him to do.

His production in 2014 spiked when he was traded to the Orioles at the end of August, but De Aza is eager to rebound from a campaign he called the worst of his career as he hit only .252 with eight home runs, 41 runs batted in, and a .700 on-base plus slugging percentage combined with the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore. He would also represent one of the Orioles’ speedier options as he stole 17 bases last season.

“I can’t just go there and tell them that I want to be leadoff or they’re just going to give me the leadoff spot,” said De Aza, who added that Showalter hasn’t talked to him about the job to this point. “I’m just going to work hard, and they’re going to make the best [decision] for the team.”

Showalter acknowledged he’s had some “radical” thoughts about his lineup throughout the offseason, mentioning Lough, Pearce, Jonathan Schoop, Adam Jones, and even Chris Davis as potential candidates to be the leadoff hitter, but nothing is set in stone. Acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates last week, Snider carried a .356 on-base percentage in the second half of 2014, and the Orioles hope that’s a sign of better things to come for the former first-round pick who’s struggled to realize his potential at the major-league level.

But if the Orioles are looking for a unconventional option who might also be the best one, Pearce led the club with a .373 OBP and worked the count as well as any hitter in the lineup a year ago. Even if the 31-year-old won’t match his lofty power figures of 21 homers and a .556 slugging percentage in 383 plate appearances in 2014, he has a career .335 OBP in parts of eight major league seasons as well as a .371 career OBP in the minor leagues.

Like Markakis, Pearce won’t offer much in terms of speed, but Showalter acknowledged the traditional leadoff hitter appears to be an endangered species in today’s game. In all likelihood, the Orioles will use a committee approach in Grapefruit League action until one or two hitters settle into the role depending on the opposing starter on a given night.

“They know things are going to change a little bit from time to time depending on who we’re facing,” Showalter said. “The conventional leadoff hitter like Brian [Roberts] was for a long time and like Rickey Henderson was for a long time, how many of them are there [today]?. How many guys can stay in the lineup against left-handed and right-handed pitching and be there every night?”

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Orioles tender contracts to Davis, Matusz, nine other arbitration-eligible players

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Orioles tender contracts to Davis, Matusz, nine other arbitration-eligible players

Posted on 02 December 2014 by Luke Jones

There were no surprises prior to Tuesday night’s deadline for arbitration-eligible players as the Orioles tendered contracts to all 11 eligible in that department.

The group includes position players Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, Ryan Flaherty, Steve Pearce, and Alejandro De Aza and pitchers Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman, Bud Norris, Tommy Hunter, Zach Britton, and Brian Matusz. There had been some debate about the futures of Davis, De Aza, Hunter, and Matusz, but the Orioles tendered each a contract with the former three set to become free agents after the 2015 season.

As is always the case with arbitration situations, the sides will exchange salary figures in hopes of meeting somewhere in the middle and avoiding a hearing. For now, each player simply remains under club control as the Orioles can include them in any potential trade.

Though it was previously undetermined whether the Orioles would retain De Aza, his presence becomes even more important after the free-agent departure of Nelson Cruz and the undetermined status of free-agent outfielder Nick Markakis. De Aza batted .293 with the Orioles after being acquired from the Chicago White Sox in late August and is projected to make $5.9 million in 2015, according to MLBTradeRumors.com.

Davis is coming off an abysmal season in which he hit only .196 and was suspended 25 games for amphetamine use, but the memory of his 53-homer campaign in 2013 was too much to ignore as he enters his final season before free agency. After making $10.3 million in 2014, Davis is projected to receive a raise to $11.8 million next season.

Perhaps the most questionable decision was tendering Matusz a contract as the lefty specialist is projected to make $2.7 million in 2015. The 27-year-old remained effective against left-handed hitting in 2014, but he once again struggled against right-handed hitters, who posted an .876 on-base plus slugging percentage against him.

Of the Orioles’ other arbitration-eligible players, Pearce figures to receive a significant bump after a career year while arbitration first-timers Tillman, Gonzalez, and Britton are in line for significant raises after impressive accomplishments in 2014.

Davis, Wieters, De Aza, Norris, Pearce, and Hunter are all scheduled to become free agents next offseason.

Below is a list of of Baltimore’s 11 arbitration players with their MLBTradeRumors.com projected salaries for 2015 in parentheses:

LHP Zach Britton ($3.2 million after making $521,500 in 2014)
INF Chris Davis: ($11.8 million after making $10.3 million in 2014)
OF Alejandro De Aza ($5.9 million after making $4.25 million in 2014)
INF Ryan Flaherty ($1 million after making $513,000 in 2014)
RHP Miguel Gonzalez ($3.7 million after making $529,000 in 2014)
RHP Tommy Hunter ($4.4 million after making $3 million in 2014)
LHP Brian Matusz ($2.7 million after making $2.4 million in 2014)
RHP Bud Norris ($8.7 million after making $5.3 million in 2014)
1B/OF Steve Pearce ($2.2 million after making $700,000 in 2014)
RHP Chris Tillman ($5.4 million after making $546,000 in 2014)
C Matt Wieters ($7.9 million after making $7.7 million in 2014)

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New Orioles outfielder De Aza reports, McFarland temporarily optioned

Posted on 31 August 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Sunday that OF ALEJANDRO DE AZA, acquired Saturday night, will report to the team today. To make room on the 25-man roster, LHP T.J. McFARLAND has been optioned to Short-Season Class-A Aberdeen.

De Aza, 30, batted .243/.309/.354 (96-395) with five home runs, 31 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 122 games for the White Sox in 2014. He will wear uniform #12.

McFarland, 25, was 4-2 with a 3.10 ERA (52.1IP, 18ER) in 30 games (one start) for the Orioles.

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Orioles acquire outfielder De Aza, infielder Kelly Johnson in separate trades

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Orioles acquire outfielder De Aza, infielder Kelly Johnson in separate trades

Posted on 30 August 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Looking to augment their roster in their final push for the American League East title, the Orioles acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the Chicago White Sox and infielder Kelly Johnson from the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.

Unheralded minor-league pitchers Miguel Chalas and Mark Blackmar were sent to Chicago to complete the deal for De Aza, who will provide a much-needed left-handed bat and speed, two areas in which the Orioles could stand to improve despite a comfortable seven-game lead in the division entering Saturday. The 30-year-old is hitting .246 with five home runs, 31 runs batted in, and 15 stolen bases while seeing time at all three outfield positions this season.

“We have been looking to get a little bit better balance to our lineup with the addition of a left-handed hitter,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. “De Aza is a left-handed hitter that can help balance out the lineup and contribute to the team. We thought it was important to continue to add major league players who can help us in September and also be eligible for the post-season when we advance.

De Aza is a career .268 hitter with a .331 on-base percentage and 77 stolen bases in seven major league seasons. In 2013, he hit .264 with 17 homers, 62 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases in 153 games.

The Orioles hope De Aza can provide what they hoped they were getting when they acquired David Lough from the Kansas City Royals last winter, but the latter is hitting just .213 in his first season in Baltimore and has largely been relegated to late-inning defensive replacement duties and pinch-running in the second half.

He is expected to report to the Orioles for Sunday’s game, meaning the organization will need to make a 25-man roster move to activate him. De Aza is eligible for arbitration and not scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2015 season.

In a separate trade, Duquette acquired Johnson and minor-league infielder Michael Almanzar from Boston in exchange for Triple-A Norfolk infielders Jemile Weeks and Ivan De Jesus. Johnson will give the Orioles a veteran option at third base in the wake of the season-ending injury to Manny Machado and is hitting .212 with six homers and 23 RBIs in 87 games split between the New York Yankees and the Red Sox.

Johnson has a career .250 average with a .332 on-base percentage in nine major league seasons spent with Atlanta, Arizona, Toronto, Tampa Bay, the Yankees, and Boston. Johnson has played games at first, second, third base, and left and right field this season.

“Kelly Johnson can play a couple of different positions,” Duquette said, “He’s familiar with the American League East, he’s played for all the other teams but ours, and now he’ll get a chance to play for ours. He’s got some power and he can get on base and he can hit right-handed pitching, and that gives us some more options to help our ball club. ”

Manager Buck Showalter said Johnson is not expected to report to the Orioles until Monday when rosters can expand to 40.

Almanzar was selected by the Orioles in the Rule 5 draft this past winter, but the organization elected to return him to Boston in early July. He is a career .251 hitter with 55 home runs and 333 RBIs in seven minor-league seasons.

Acquired in the Jim Johnson trade last offseason, the 27-year-old Weeks batted .278 in 62 games for the Tides while dealing with injuries this season. De Jesus was a .282 hitter in 113 games with the Tides.

The 22-year-old Chalas was 3-4 with a 4.48 ERA in 30 relief appearances between Triple-A Norfolk and Single-A Frederick this season. Over five minor league seasons in the organization, Chalas sported a 24-21 record with a 3.73 ERA.

Blackmar, 22, was 10-1 with a 3.18 ERA in 26 games (18 starts) for Frederick this season. In four years in the Baltimore organization, Blackmar went 21-13 with a 3.75 ERA.

Earlier Saturday, the Orioles outrighted pitcher Suk-min Yoon and infielder Cord Phelps to Norfolk, creating two open spots on the 25-man roster.

 

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