Versatile Pearce returns to O's in deal with Rays

Baltimore trades catching prospect Heim to add offensive depth

Versatile Pearce returns to O's in deal with Rays

BALTIMORE -- The O's pulled off a late Trade Deadline deal on Monday afternoon, acquiring infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce from the Rays in exchange for catching prospect Jonah Heim.

Pearce, 33, who was with the Orioles for four seasons until signing a one-year deal with the Rays as a free agent this past offseason, was incredibly popular in the clubhouse and could see time in a left-field platoon with Hyun Soo Kim.

"It's going to be fun," Pearce said of being back in the playoff race." I got to experience it with those guys in 2014, so I'm excited to go back and get the job done."

The O's have been playing with a short bench and an extra pitcher, and have been thin in the outfield after an injury to Joey Rickard.

"Steve Pearce is a proven, versatile 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 of baseball operations Dan Duquette said.

After addressing their biggest need with the acquisition of starter Wade Miley, Duquette pulled off another move right before the non-waiver Trade Deadline of 4 p.m. ET.

Jim Duquette on Miley trade

"Wade Miley is a workhorse veteran, left-handed starter who likes to pitch and compete," Duquette said. "We think he will contribute to this year's club with some quality innings."

Pearce is manager Buck Showalter's type of player; he's scrappy and plays with an all-out effort. In four seasons with Baltimore, he posted a .258/.338/.478 line with 43 homers and 116 RBIs.

"Definitely, it's going to make the transition a lot easier," Pearce said of heading back to Baltimore. "Couldn't be happier where I'm going."

Heim, a switch-hitting catcher, was in Major League camp this spring and was ranked the No. 13 prospect in the organization, according to MLBPipeline.com. He was at the O's Class A Advanced affiliate in Frederick and had seven homers and 30 RBIs in 88 games. Heim was selected by Baltimore in the fourth round of the 2013 Draft out of Amherst (N.Y.) High School.

But the O's have a lot of young catching in their system, and with a lineup that has struggled lately, Pearce adds another bat as the Orioles try to make a push for the playoffs.

Things also got a little tougher for the Orioles at the Deadline, as Baltimore watched Texas trade for catcher Jonathan Lucroy on Monday. The Rangers, already in first place in the American League West, are in Baltimore for a three-game series that begins Tuesday.

The moves to add Miley and Pearce don't mean the O's are done adding. Baltimore has historically been active in the month of August on waiver deals, and there's every expectation the club will be again as it looks for a left-handed reliever and perhaps some more rotation depth.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.