Alejandro De Aza proved to be a nice little pick up for the Orioles in late August. In 20 games in Baltimore, De Aza slashed .293/.341/.537 with three homers and 10 RBI. And that’s after he slashed .243/.309/.354 with five dingers and 31 RBI in 122 games with the White Sox.
De Aza struggled against left handed pitchers in 2014, hitting .138/.194/.207 and posted -0.3 dWAR and -2 DRS in all three outfield positions.
With the Birds reported interest in Matt Kemp (can’t see that happening), Melky Cabrera and Torii Hunter, along with their slow progress with free agents Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz, the Baltimore outfield could look pretty different in 2015. In his third year of arbitration eligibility, De Aza is projected to make $5.9 million according to MLB Trade Rumors.
Charlie Wilmoth of MLBTR wonders if De Aza might be a non-tender candidate:
On top of that, Baltimore faces a crunch of arbitration-eligible players, many of whom either are coming off very good seasons or have high salaries already. The Orioles’ 11 arbitration-eligibles (De Aza, Matt Wieters, Steve Pearce, Bud Norris, Tommy Hunter, Chris Davis, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Ryan Flaherty and Zach Britton) are projected to make a combined $56.9MM, and the Orioles could decide De Aza is a luxury they can do without, particularly if they splurge on, say, Markakis and Cruz, or at least feel it’s likely they’ll re-sign. They already have a lefty backup outfielder in David Lough who had a similar season to De Aza with the bat and will make near the league minimum in 2015, so heading into the season with De Aza on their roster only makes sense for the Orioles if they have a starting spot available for him.
At 1.4 WAR in 2014, De Aza was valued at $7.7 million. He made $4.25 million.
MASNSports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports that the O’s have “every intention” of keeping De Aza, which seems to make the most sense since the market for Markakis appears quiet and I expect Cruz to sign somewhere else in 2015.