In the midst of defeating the Minnesota Twins to go up eight games in the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles made multiple waiver deadline moves last night. The Orioles first acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the Chicago White Sox. Then, just a few innings later, the O’s acquired infielders Kelly Johnson and Michael Almanzar from the Boston Red Sox.
The Orioles did not give up much at all in these trades, and if anything, the moves provide depth to an already deep Orioles lineup. While the De Aza move comes as a bit of a surprise because the Orioles did not really need much outfield help, De Aza is an upgrade over lefty David Lough.
De Aza, a left or center fielder, is a lefty who can bat at the top or bottom of the order, with surprising power and speed. It will be tough to find times when De Aza will get starts over Delmon Young and Nelson Cruz, but he gives the O’s a solid player to turn to for substitutions and is definitely an upgrade over anybody who would be called up in September.
On the other hand, the Kelly Johnson/Michael Almanzar deal makes a bit for the O’s. With the loss of Manny Machado, the Orioles were in need of another infielder, as Chris Davis was playing third base almost exclusively, with Steve Pearce at first. Now, with Pearce suffering an abdominal injury, the O’s turned to Jimmy Paredes at third. While Paredes has done fine, the addition of a proven veteran like Kelly Johnson, who can play second or third base, is a solid move.
Johnson provides a lefty bat with some pop at times and will likely be featured toward the bottom of the order. Johnson has struggled this year, but has shown he can hit at the Major League level in the past. Johnson will likely see a lot of time at third base, with Chris Davis playing first, especially while Steve Pearce is out. Chances are the O’s will shuffle their lineup a decent amount throughout this final month of the season, especially depending on the pitcher they are facing on any given day.
The players who have been needed to fill in for Baltimore have done a solid job throughout the hole season, and now acquiring multiple, proven players, Buck Showalter can feel a little more confident when having to turn to a player on his bench.