Endy heading to Baltimore with one-year deal
Speedy free agent expected to be O's top reserve outfielder
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles have crossed an item off their offseason shopping list, bolstering their outfield depth by signing veteran Endy Chavez to a one-year contract that was announced by the club on Tuesday afternoon.
"Endy is a tremendous defender and gives us needed depth in the outfield," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said in a statement. "He is a veteran player whose left-handed bat will give us options off the bench."
The expectation is that Chavez will serve as a platoon in left field with Nolan Reimold. Chavez, who played 66 games in center for Texas last season, will give Duquette a necessary backup for Adam Jones.
Chavez, who will turn 34 before the start of the 2012 season, made a solid big league return last season with the Rangers, batting .301 over 83 games. The O's will be his seventh team in 10 years.
Duquette referenced just last week that his preference would be to find a left-handed-hitting outfielder who could spell Jones if necessary. The 26-year-old Jones is deemed virtually untouchable in a trade -- the organization would have to blown away by a deal -- and Chavez's signing doesn't change that stance.
What it does do, however, is add another veteran player and give manager Buck Showalter some flexibility in using both Reimold and Chavez. The departure of the left-handed-hitting Felix Pie, who signed a Minor League with the Indians this winter, left the Orioles without a true backup for Jones. Speedy outfielder Matt Angle, who bats left-handed and plays center field, debuted last season -- though the organization wanted him to get infield work this winter, hinting at perhaps a position change or more of a utility role.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.