White Sox trade Alejandro De Aza to Orioles for minor-leaguers
BY DAVID JUST For Sun-Times Media August 30, 2014 8:31PM
Chicago White Sox center fielder Alejandro De Aza catches a sacrifice fly ball hit by Arizona Diamondbacks' Martin Prado during the fifth inning of an interleague baseball game in Chicago, Saturday, May 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: August 30, 2014 11:52PM
Alejandro De Aza smacked his 500th career hit Friday, and the White Sox traded him to the Orioles for two minor-league pitchers Saturday.
The news came midway through the Sox’ 8-4 loss to the Tigers in the nightcap of a doubleheader at U.S. Cellular Field. De Aza wasn’t in the lineup, but he started the afternoon game, which the Sox won 6-3, and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
The Sox will get Mark Blackmar and Miguel Chalas in return. Neither player is among Baltimore’s more notable prospects, and general manager Rick Hahn said neither will join the Sox when rosters expand in September.
It’s the second trade the Sox have made in nine days after sending second baseman Gordon Beckham to the Angels on Aug. 21.
“As with the Beckham move,” Hahn said, “[we] free up not only a little salary flexibility going forward, but also some playing time for some of the younger guys over the last few weeks of the season.”
De Aza, 30, who signed a one-year, $4.25 million contract in January, has been a serviceable acquisition in five seasons on the South Side. The Sox claimed the left-handed-hitting outfielder off waivers from the Marlins in 2009.
He was viewed as little more than a defensive replacement and spot starter at the time, but De Aza grew into an every-day role in 2012, when he hit .281 in 131 games.
He was hitting .243 with five homers and 31 RBI in 122 games. De Aza is a career .267 hitter in seven seasons with the Marlins and Sox.
“It’s tough anytime a guy on your team gets traded,” manager Robin Ventura said. “And we’ve been with him a long time. He went in and hugged everybody, and you just wish him the best.”
Blackmar and Chalas have had mixed results over several seasons in the Orioles’ farm system.
Blackmar, a 22-year-old Texas native, is 10-1 with a 3.18 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 26 games (18 starts) for Class A Frederick of the Carolina League. Last year, he went 4-9 with a 5.53 ERA at Class A Delmarva. He was a 16th-round pick by the Orioles in 2011.
Hahn called Blackmar an “intriguing kid” with a good pitcher’s body and a solid mix of pitches.
Chalas, also 22, is a full-time reliever who is 3-4 with a 4.48 ERA in 30 appearances at Frederick and Class AAA Norfolk of the International League. He signed with the Orioles as a free agent in 2010.
Sunday is the final day before the waiver trade deadline, and Hahn said the team was still exploring opportunities Saturday night.
“It is a priority for us to continue to build on the progress we’ve made the last few years with our system,” Hahn said, “both internationally and through the draft. Another way of doing that is via trade. Anytime we have the possibility of adding quality arms to the system, it’s something we have to take seriously.”
De Aza’s departure leaves a hole in left field that the Sox can experiment with in September.
Dayan Viciedo, who hit a three-run home run in the nightcap, has played 35 games in left field.
Other potential names in the mix could be Jordan Danks, who was optioned when Adam Eaton returned from the disabled list last week, or even Jared Mitchell, the club’s first-round pick in the 2009 draft.
“There’s an opportunity for someone to seize that job,’’ Hahn said of left field. ‘‘If not, then it’s something we’ll be looking to fill in the offseason.”