The Orioles signed Endy Chavez to a one-year, $1.5 million contract over the winter to serve as a fourth outfielder, but he was designated for assignment this afternoon in order to make room for the promotion of former All-Star outfielder Nate McLouth.
Chavez was a big disappointment with the Orioles this season, batting just .190/.222/.281 with two home runs, eight RBI, two stolen bases and a .503 OPS in 129 plate appearances. The 33-year-old has served stints on the disabled list due to hamstring and oblique injuries. Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports that the O’s are now exploring possible trades for the veteran outfielder.
McLouth was granted his release by the Pirates at the end of May after batting just .140 (8-for-57) in 34 games. The 30-year-old signed a minor league deal with the Orioles a few days later and batted .244/.325/.461 with 10 homers and a .786 OPS in 47 games during his time with Triple-A Norfolk. According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, McLouth’s contract included an out-clause if he wasn’t promoted to the majors by Saturday. He’s starting in left field and batting seventh tonight against the Rays.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.