Saturday, May 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays get former Oriole Steve Pearce

ST. PETERSBURG — Steve Pearce has made himself at home at the Trop over the past couple of seasons, hitting seven homers in 18 games for the Orioles.

Now he is set to make the Trop his home for 2016, agreeing to a one-year deal with the Rays, expected to be made official next week, the Tampa Bay Times has learned. Financial terms are not yet known.

Pearce, 33 in April, provides right-handed power to a Rays lineup that was next to last in the American League in runs scored along with defensive versatility. The Rays, who won't comment until the deal is official, figure to take advantage, using the Lakeland product at DH, at first base against lefty pitchers, and occasionally in the outfield. He also has filled in at second and third base.

Pearce is coming off a rough season in which he missed more than a month with an oblique strain and hit only .218 with 15 homers, 40 RBIs and a .711 on-base slugging percentage while making $3.7 million.

But that was after a career-best 2014 season in which he hit at .293 with 21 homers, 49 RBIs and a .930 OPS, ranking as one of the most productive hitters in the game. His gritty style, aggressive attitude and run-through-a-wall approach made him a favorite of Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

"When you've been through some of the challenges and constant trials Steve has been to constantly prove himself, I don't think he's ever going to say, 'I've got this figured out,' " Showalter told the Baltimore Sun last spring. "He's never going to take anything for granted."

An eighth-round pick by Pittsburgh in 2005, Pearce played parts of five seasons with the Pirates, then spent 2012 bouncing between the Twins, Yankees and Astros before finding a niche with the Orioles.

A fair amount of Pearce's success with Baltimore came against the Rays, especially at Tropicana Field where he has a career 1.039 OPS (including the seven homers and five doubles) in 86 plate appearances.

Though Pearce's walks were down and his strikeouts up, a part of his 2015 dropoff could be attributed to bad luck as he had a large decline, nearly 100 points, in batting average on balls in play.

A formal announcement of the deal will be made after the Rays review results of a physical exam conducted this week. The team then will have to make room for Pearce on its 40-man roster.

NO CHARGES: State prosecutors will not file charges in a domestic disturbance case involving Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman. Broward County Assistant State Attorney Stefanie Newman wrote that conflicting accounts and insufficient evidence made a conviction unlikely. According to a police report, Chapman's girlfriend, 22-year-old Cristina Barnea, told police he pushed and choked her. Chapman said there was an argument but said he was pushed down by Barnea's brother. Chapman said he eventually got a gun and fired eight shots into a wall and window while locked in his garage. A proposed trade of Chapman from the Reds to the Dodgers fell apart after the incident was made public. He was then traded to the Yankees last month.

OWNERS' MEETINGS: Commissioner Rob Manfred says National League teams might be more receptive to the DH than in the past, even though owners ended two days of meetings without any serious discussion. Last week, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said there was more momentum lately for the DH in the NL, but owners weren't inclined to consider a change when they met this week. In other meeting news, video review is making a slight expansion and can be used to place baserunners on overthrows into the seats and on fan interference. And this year's deadline to make trades without waivers is being pushed back a day to Aug. 1, hoping to avoid having players on the field during Sunday afternoon games as they're about to get dealt.

WHITE SOX: Reliever Matt Albers was re-signed to a one-year deal that guarantees $2.25 million and includes a club option for 2017. The 33-year-old right-hander will receive $2 million next season. The team holds a $3 million option for 2017 with a $250,000 buyout. Albers went 2-0 with a 1.21 ERA in 30 appearances last season; he was on the disabled list (April 20-July 15) with a broken pinky finger. Albers is 27-31 with a 4.20 ERA over 10 seasons with six different teams.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected] Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Comments
Rays trade closer Alex Colome, outfielder Denard Span to Mariners

Rays trade closer Alex Colome, outfielder Denard Span to Mariners

ST. PETERSBURG – In January, sure.In July, absolutely.But, now?And, once again, for someone who they hope helps in the future.The Rays made a shocking trade at a surprising time of year Friday, dealing All-Star closer Alex Colome and Tampa...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays journal: Rays shut out by Orioles in opener

Rays journal: Rays shut out by Orioles in opener

By Joey JohnstonTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — Rays LHP Ryan Yarbrough deserved better Friday. But the offense didn't offer much, allowing the Orioles to escape with a 2-0 victory before an announced crowd of 11,354 at Tropicana Field."It ...
Published: 05/25/18
Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

Rays trade Alex Colome and Denard Span to Mariners for prospects

The Rays made a major trade Friday afternoon, sending All-Star closer Alex Colome and OF Denard Span to the Mariners.The return is two minor-leaguers, RHP Andrew Moore and RHP Tommy Romero. The Rays also sent cash to the Mariners.Span, a Tampa produc...
Published: 05/25/18
For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

By JOEY JOHNSTONTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — For openers, the Rays will use RHP Sergio Romo, the 35-year-old career reliever, as tonight's starter against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field.Romo is making his third career "sta...
Published: 05/25/18
Alex Cobb excited about return “home” to Trop even in Orioles orange

Alex Cobb excited about return “home” to Trop even in Orioles orange

RHP Alex Cobb has already pitched twice against his former Rays mates in Baltimore and said it didn't feel that weird, especially since there were so many new faces in the lineup.But coming back to the Trop, where he made his big-league debut and spe...
Published: 05/25/18
Willy Adames goes back to AAA, leaving Rays with “a lot to be excited about’

Willy Adames goes back to AAA, leaving Rays with “a lot to be excited about’

Willy Adames' first stint in the major leagues ended as planned Thursday night when he was optioned back to Triple-A Durham at the end of his planned three-game cameo filling in for new father Joey Wendle.Adames said going back down was "tough" even ...
Published: 05/25/18
Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Having lost two straight and nine of 12 times overall to the Red Sox, the Rays needed two things to go right Thursday:First, a strong start from Blake Snell.Second, some early runs against Rick Porcello from an offense that had...
Published: 05/24/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Home cooking clearly agrees with OF Denard Span. The 34-year-old Tampa product continues to deliver, producing at the plate, running the bases, making diving catches in the outfield, and Thursday, even going over the short sidewall twice in hot pursu...
Published: 05/24/18
Rays once again will ‘open’ with relievers this weekend

Rays once again will ‘open’ with relievers this weekend

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays weren't kidding about being serious that starting relievers gives them the best chance to win.So much so, they plan to do so again this weekend against the Orioles — in all three games. The plan is for Sergio Rom...
Published: 05/24/18
Rays tripling down on starting relievers vs. Orioles this weekend: Romo, Stanek, Romo

Rays tripling down on starting relievers vs. Orioles this weekend: Romo, Stanek, Romo

The Rays aren't kidding about being serious in using relievers to start games.After unveiling the strategy last weekend against the Angels, manager Kevin Cash said they planned to use it again, and he made that official on Thursday, naming Sergio Rom...
Published: 05/24/18