In scouring the trade waiver wire, the Orioles hoped to add a left-handed bat to balance their righty-dominated lineup. The club accomplished that on Saturday by acquiring veteran outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for minor league right-handed pitchers Miguel Chalas and Mark Blackmar.
De Aza, 30, spent the past five seasons with the White Sox and hit .246/.312/.358 with five homers and 31 RBIs in 121 games with Chicago this season. Last season, De Aza set career highs in homers (17) and RBIs (62) while playing in a career-high 153 games.
De Aza can play all three outfield positions and gives the Orioles speed off the bench.
"He's a multi-talented outfielder," Orioles vice president Dan Duquette said. "He's good in left, he can play center field. He has two very good years in '12 and '13 where he hit for power. He gives us a veteran outfielder who we can use to supplement our team. We have been looking to get a little bit better balance to our lineup with the addition of a left-handed hitter.
"We thought it was important to continue to add major league players that can help us in September and also be eligible for the postseason when we advance."
De Aza would likely play exclusively against right-handers. He's a career .275 hitter against right handers, compared to a .245 against lefties. This season, however, De Aza's splits have been more dramatic: He's batting .279 against right-handers and just .105 against left-handers. De Aza is 77-for-110 on stolen-base attempts over his career, posting a career-high 26 steals in 2012.
Duquette said the Orioles initially had discussions with the White Sox a few weeks ago and were able to finalize a deal as a midnight Sunday deadline to add players loomed. Players added later would not be eligible for postseason rosters.
"We knew that he was available a couple of weeks ago and we had an original discussion then and the discussions heated up in the last couple of days," Duquette said.
Blackmar, the Orioles' 16th-round pick in the 2011 draft out of Temple, was 10-1 with a 3.18 ERA over 26 games (18 starts) at high Class-A Frederick. The 22-year-old allowed just 109 hits over 1301/3 innings for the Keys, striking out 83 and walking 32.
Chalas, 22, spent most of this season as a reliever with Frederick, going 2-3 with a 4.80 ERA in 28 relief appearances over 69 1/3 innings. He also made two appearances for Triple-A Norfolk and allowed just one run over seven relief innings.
Duquette said the Orioles will continue to explore opportunities to make another trade before Sunday's deadline, possibly adding another infielder. In order for players to be traded, they must first be placed on trade waivers.
"We're going to look around today and tomorrow," Duquette said. "We've been working hard on the waiver wire and been having discussions with other clubs. Hopefully we will be able to add so that we have enough players for the stretch drive."
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