Report: Rays are “seriously interested” in Steve Pearce

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Not four months after the Rays traded utility player Steve Pearce to the Orioles for minor league catcher Jonah Heim, they want him back. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays have “serious interest” in bringing Pearce onboard for the 2017 season, though that interest hinges on his ability to make a full recovery after undergoing forearm surgery in September.

When healthy, Pearce slashed a .288/.374/492 line with the Rays and Orioles, racking up 13 home runs and an .867 OPS in 302 PA. His power at the plate pairs nicely with his defensive flexibility, as he logged time at first base, second base, right field, left field, and DH in 2016. After parting ways with infielder Richie Shaffer last week, Topkin speculates that the Rays could utilize Pearce in a first base/DH role behind starting first baseman Brad Miller.

The Blue Jays and Mets are among those who have also expressed interest in the 33-year-old so far this offseason.