Yankees trade Steve Pearce to Orioles for cash

Life After Shoulder Surgery
2012 Draft: Zach Eflin

The Yankees have traded Triple-A first baseman Steve Pearce to the Orioles for cash, the team announced. The 29-year-old was the best hitter on the club’s top farm system affiliate (.438 wOBA) after signing a minor league deal at the end of Spring Training. The Yankees don’t need the cash obviously, the trade is more about freeing up a roster spot for the now healthy Russell Branyan, who’s played a handful of games at High-A following back issues.

Chances are Pearce had a June 1st opt-out clause in his contract. Usually the team is given 48 hours to respond after the player triggers an opt-out, so the Yankees traded him for some cash rather than call him up or lose him for nothing. That’s all speculation on my part though.

Update: That’s exactly what happened according to Chad Jennings. Pearce triggered an opt-out in his contract and the Yankees were obligated to let him go to a team willing to put him on their 25-man active big league roster.

Life After Shoulder Surgery
2012 Draft: Zach Eflin
  • DERP

    And they called him to up the bigs. Congrats to him.

  • kenthadley

    Why would this be done? If we need the cash for the Soler deal, ok. Otherwise, why not make it for a player we might be able to use? A minor league OF or SS?

    • DERP

      I doubt that the Orioles (or anyone) were willing to give up anything that we might be able to use.

    • zs190

      Chad at LoHud has the information on why: he has an opt-out on 6/1 if another team is willing to play him on the majors (most of the AAA free agents have this kind of thing) and Orioles is willing to add him, so he basically opted out. The cash is just a procedural fee kind of thing, they are contractually obligated to let him go.

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      I doubt they are going after Soler.

      They have passed on guys like Cespedes, Darvish, Chapman and Viciedo in recent years.

      • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

        Cespedes is twenty-six. Darvish and Chapman also had much higher price-tags to go along with their established notoriety. Viciedo was signed four years ago and is just starting to produce.

        Soler is twenty. He’s a much more likely target than any of those others were, provided that Yankee scouts think he projects well. Soled won’t get close to Cespedes/Darvish money either.

        • Manny’s BanWagon

          Soler will get $15-20 million easily.

        • Manny’s BanWagon

          And what’s your point about Viciedo just starting to produce? He was signed at age 19 for $10 million and now he’s only 23. It’s looking like a pretty smart move by the White Sox at this point.

          • Steve (different one)

            Viciedo has walked 15 times in almost 400 PA’s. Let’s not get too bent out of shape over this missed opportunity. If he were a Yankee, everyone here would hate him.

            • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

              Oh, yeah. The Yankees could never use a guy with 9 HR, .337 AVG and a 1.003 and 24 RBI (remember those?) over the last 28 days. If the Yankees had a guy with even half those stats on the team right now in that same time frame, they’d be giving him a parade.

              Who cares about the amount of walks? The Yankees could use a few more guys who actually knock in runs instead of a bunch of guys sitting around waiting for the perfect pitch. What’s the point of working the count and getting on base if nobody’s going to drive them in anyway?

    • RetroRob

      The Yankees picked Pearce up off the scrapheap. He’s 29, played in the minors for eight years, and inbetween has more than 500 PAs in the majors with a .680ish OPS. They’re not going to get much for him because there are always players like him around.

      The opt-out forced them to make the move, but they knew it was coming all along.

  • Will The Thrill

    Not a fan of helping a division rival regardless of how small a move may seem.

    • Ted Nelson

      They could have just signed him for nothing when he opted out. The Yankees were helping themselves, not him. Chances are that they shopped around to find who might be willing to add him to their 25-man roster… the only way a move makes sense.

  • DM

    He and Cust were brought in as AAA emergency depth. Now that Branyan is playing again, they could dump one of them.

    • rEc

      I don’t really see Russell Branyan being better than Steve Pearce at this point, but Pearce was opting out so what can they do.

      • DM

        I don’t either — but I don’t think Pearce would’ve been signed back in March if it weren’t for Branyan’s back. Not a big deal either way. It’s the usual Cashman stockpile of these types. Ideally you won’t have them on the big club for any length of time — but sometimes you have no choice (like Wise).

      • Ted Nelson

        Branyan had literally one bad year, with a known injury to explain the production. He was a total beast before that. Pearce was never a beast in MLB.

        You’re comparing a AAAA player to an MLB player.

        • rEc

          Not enough data to call Pearce a AAAA player. He had two bad stints [each less than 200 PA] in his age 25 and 26 seasons and then was hurt for pretty much two years. As for Branyan having just one bad year, uh.. I guess.

          Branyan is who he is. His back gets hurt — often. It’s not a new injury. It’s not a recent injury. I’m not really disputing Russell Branyan’s ability to hit .220 with more Ks than games played with as many cheapies as YS3 allows. I’m just doubtful he’ll be healthy enough to really matter for any extended period.

          • Ted Nelson

            Are you really using BA as the standard of offensive value? Branyan was a well above average hitter for several years leading up to one bad year last season.

            Pearce has spent parts of 5 different season in MLB and been successful for one of those stints. He’s already 29. He’s a prototypical AAAA player.

            • rEc

              I think when your batting average starts dipping below .250 it becomes more and more relevant the further it drops.

              Am I incorrectly labeling the type of player Branyan is? He’s been in the show for parts of 14 seasons and played north of 80 games in 7 of them. He takes a walk pretty well but it still only adds up to a .329 OBP because his BA is so bad.

              I like Russell. He seems like a nice guy. It’s useful to have a guy who can platoon and mash up 4th and 5th starters when he’s on the field and not in the trainer’s room.

              As for Steve Pearce, I think I laid it out pretty well. You feel like his separate stretches in the majors totaling less than 200 PA each time tell the whole story — I don’t.

      • RetroRob

        Branyan has performed on the MLB level. Pearce is a career minor leaguer who when given the chance has shown little. I’ll take my chances with Branyan first.

        • rEc

          Hasn’t really been given any extended chance.

          He hit well in the minors his age 25 and 26 seasons, didn’t perform so hot in the majors in his two stints those years – 119 PA and 186 PA respectively.

          He was hurt for pretty much all of his age 27 and age 28 seasons. His line in his age 27 season in his small AAA sample was nearly identical to what he did in his monster age 24 campaign and nearly identical to what he is doing this season.

          • Ted Nelson

            Pearce has almost a full season worth of MLB PAs at this point.

            • rEc

              Spread across 5 different seasons, but you knew that and you have your mind made up.

              • Ted Nelson

                That they’re spread over 5 seasons makes me think it’s more likely they’re accurate, not less. It wasn’t a bad season he can improve on. He’s been mediocre for 5 years.

          • RetroRob

            There’s another part of the equation being ignored here. It’s not just the # of PAs, but how he handles MLB pitchers. Talent evaluators are very good at identifying flaws and determining if they can be fixed. The lack of interest in Pearce across all MLB speaks volumes. The Yankees had to trade him to the Orioles since they agreed to put him on the 25-man roster. They were the only team to make that offer. The Pirates determined he would provide little value. The Minnesota Twins flat out released him. The Yankees just game him away for a couple of bucks. There’s a reason.

            I don’t think we should get too wrapped up in the Branyan vs. Pearce discussion. As far as I can tell they are unrelated. The Yankees had to put him on the MLB roster or lose him. Branyan has nothing to do with it beyond the fact they have a back-up right now who can slot in.

            • rEc

              His time with the Pirates was wrapping up in the middle of his injury plagued stretch and Garrett Jones buying himself a long leash with half a season of .938 OPS ball. The Pirates are also the same organization that traded Aramis Ramirez for Bobby Hill. They traded Jason Bay for Andy LaRoche.

              I don’t really put a lot of stock into anything the Minnesota Twins think. They’re the same organization that released David Ortiz. Got a pu-pu platter of hot garbage for Santana. Traded Matt Garza for Delmon Young. Dumped JJ Hardy to replace him with some Japanese dude who had never topped 14 HR in the Pacific League.

              The Orioles are doing pretty decently this season and a lot of it has to do with guys they picked up because other teams didn’t think too much of them. Chris Davis got bounced because Texas thought Mitch Moreland was better. Minnesota obviously didn’t think Hardy would get back to where he was with the Brewers, but he has. Colorado didn’t think much of Jason Hammel’s league average innings eating a mile above sea level.

              I think Pearce is going to hit a bit.

              • Ted Nelson

                You can make all te excusesyou’d like. Pearce is the definition of a AAAA player. If he’ not one, thy don’t exist. AAAA players rarely get extended MLB runs because they don’t earn them. You can make this same argument for every AAAA player who hasn’t been lucky enough to happen to find a team totally desperate at his position (up the middle guys are likely to get that chance, not corner guys.)

                That’s not to say he can’t improve. It’s not to say he isn’t good enough to have a good stretch in MLB. He already has.

                • rEc

                  Oh, I was talking with RetroRob here Ted.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    I was talking to you. It’s a blog.

                    Do you understand what a AAAA player is? That might be the problem. Almost by definition a AAAA player is unlikely to get a full seaso in MLB, especially at a corner spot.

                    • rEc

                      I’m trying to throw you a hint that I’m done with your passive aggressive nonsense, especially when you don’t even have a good argument.

                      Is Nelson Cruz a AAAA player? Was Russell Branyan a AAAA player? How about Brett Gardner? AJ Ellis? Ken Phelps?

                      Steve Pearce in 521 PA in the show walks at an %8.6 clip and Ks less than %20. He has always hit for power in the high minors.

                      I believe his hit tool is legit, you don’t. I don’t really know why you feel the need to follow me post to post to dismiss my interpretation.

                      We’ll just have to wait and see what he does with first place Baltimore.

      • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

        I do. Branyan has hit well at the new Yankee Stadium. Plus, he’s had some degree of success at the Major League level over a pretty lengthy career. Pearce has been given plenty of chances with Pittsburgh and did absolutely nothing…and that’s a team where if you show anything on the offensive end, you’re going to stick.

  • Need Pitching

    apparently Pearce had an opt out in his contract that allowed him to leave if another team was willing to add him to 25-man roster.


  • vin

    They couldn’t get Dylan Bundy for him? Fire Cashman.

    Must be frustrating being a AAAA player. You know you can mash AAA pitching, but big league success remains elusive.

    • OldYanksFan

      My guess is it’s Shelly Duncan Syndrome. Not being able to see/hit offspeed stuff. It seems there are lots of guys who can mash a FB, and they see plenty at AAA. But in the Bigs, if you can’t hit a CB, or see the spin on the pitch, you ain’t gonna make it.

  • Typical MIT Nerd

    With how awful Teixeira is, I would have loved to see if Pearce could have topped him if only against LHP.

    • Steve (different one)


    • Bunt Gardner


    • hogsmog

      Tex has been far from awful in the last few weeks.

    • Ted Nelson

      When was the last time you watched a Yankee game?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      You’re one of those guys who studied Liberal Arts at MIT, aren’t you?

  • Ac

    Pierce was a depth move. Wasnt honna be called up. The team we have us what we have. Too many no trade deals. Brayan and Cust will only get call if Ibanez gets hurt. Otherwise they are trade bait.

  • Pat D

    Duh Innings will be devastated by this.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      We should all pitch in and send him a card.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    As the AAAA world turns…

  • https://twitter.com/#!/Paddock9652 Stratman9652

    And once again Bill Hall is out of a job partly due to the Yankees.

    • RetroRob

      They’re doing it on purpose to punish him.