The Orioles announced on Twitter that the club has acquired infielder Kelly Johnson and minor league infielder Michael Almanzar from the Red Sox in exchange for minor league infielders Jemile Weeks and Ivan De Jesus. It’s been a busy evening for the O’s, as they acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the White Sox earlier.
The O’s have an eight-game lead over the Yankees in the AL East, but will be without third baseman Manny Machado throughout September and the post-season, assuming they get there.
Johnson has had a miserable season, slashing .212/.290/.354 combined between his time with the Yankees and Red Sox. He tallied six home runs and 23 RBI as well in 252 plate appearances. Now an Oriole, Johnson will have donned the uniform of all five AL East teams. He was with the Rays last season, the Jays in the latter half of 2011 and all of 2012.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.
Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.
Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.