Steve Pearce has chosen Tampa over the Baltimore Orioles.
One of the mainstays on the Baltimore Orioles’ roster since the magical 2012 season is headed south. Within the past few days, the Tampa Rays signed Steve Pearce to a one-year deal (pending a physical – but with Dr. Koko Eaton overseeing things, all should be well there). Pearce is a native of Lakeland, FL, so in a sense this is somewhat of a homecoming for him.
Pearce was never the superstar third baseman or the slugging first baseman on the Orioles. But he was one of “Buck’s guys.” He was a good force in the clubhouse, and he did pretty much everything that he was asked to do for the team. Heck, the guy even played some middle infield, which is something he had never done before.
Pearce is your classic utility guy, and he comes off as someone who never forgot how tough it is to get to the big leagues. I say that in part because of what I said above; he’s willing to do whatever he’s asked to do. He’s well aware of the fact that if he’s asked to play shortstop or lay down a sacrifice bunt late in a game and he’s unwilling to do it, there’s someone else (probably younger and better) behind him who is.
Pearce isn’t a superstar, but he turned into a fan favorite without a doubt. There will be some who’ll be glad to see him go. But he played a very important role on this team the past few years, and in my view he’ll always be remembered as a part of the resurgence of Orioles baseball.
Obviously O’s fans will see their share of Pearce with him staying in the AL East. My hope is that he’s welcomed back in a positive manner when Tampa comes to Oriole Park at Camden Yards over the season’s first weekend.