TODAY: Boston will pay around $1MM of De Aza’s remaining salary, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal report on Twitter. That’s no small amount, of course, but it does mean that Baltimore retains most of the financial burden going forward.
YESTERDAY: The Red Sox on Wednesday bolstered their outfield depth by acquiring an experienced corner option from the Orioles in the form of Alejandro De Aza, Baltimore announced. The O’s will send cash considerations to the Sox along with De Aza in exchange for Double-A right-hander Joe Gunkel. In order to accommodate De Aza on their 40-man roster, the Red Sox have transferred righty Brandon Workman to the 60-day DL, the club announced.
De Aza, added by the O’s at last year’s trade deadline, is owed $5MM this season, of which about $3.39MM remains. He’s a somewhat curious add for a Red Sox club that is already flush with outfield options and recently picked up fellow lefty-swinging corner outfielder Carlos Peguero in a trade with the Rangers. Boston also has Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez and Rusney Castillo on the roster as its starting trio in the outfield, with veterans Daniel Nava and Shane Victorino on the DL. (One would think that Peguero’s spot could eventually be in jeopardy when one of those veterans is nearing a return.)
The 31-year-old De Aza owns a meager .214/.277/.359 triple-slash in his 112 plate appearances thus far. But his track record is better; over the 2012-14 seasons, De Aza owns an exactly-league-average 100 OPS+ (and, if you prefer, a 100 wRC+). With average offensive production and strong defense, that has made him a solidly regular in the corner outfield.
As I noted when he was designated, the Orioles had ample reason to strike a deal to save what money they could. With more than five years of service, De Aza would have been eligible to reject an outright assignment (assuming he cleared waivers) and thereby become a free agent without sacrificing his rather significant guaranteed salary.
Gunkel is a 23-year-old who was pitching at Double-A in the Boston organization. He rated as Boston’s 26th-best prospect entering the year, per Baseball America, which says that he profiles as a reliever in the long run. Over 18 1/3 innings this year, he’s allowed eight earned runs with 22 strikeouts against eight walks.
That seems like a decent get for the O’s, though we’ll need to learn how much money has changed hands before really evaluating the deal.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the trade (on Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.