Rays ship Steve Pearce to Orioles, acquire catcher Jonah Heim in return

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired minor league catcher Jonah Heim from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for infielder Steve Pearce.

Heim, 21, was a non-roster invite to major league spring training this season and has hit .216/.300/.344 (63-for-291) with 14 doubles, seven home runs and 30 RBI in 88 games for Class-A Frederick. He was a fourth-round selection of the Orioles in the 2013 June Draft out of Amherst High School in New York. Over parts of four minor league seasons, he has hit .216/.281/.320 (146-for-675) with 39 doubles, nine home runs and 59 RBI in 206 games. He entered this season ranked by Baseball America as the Best Defensive Catcher and the No. 15 prospect in the Orioles organization. He was ranked by MLB.com as the No. 13 prospect in the Orioles organization in their midseason update.

Pearce, 33, hit .309/.388/.520 (63-for-204) for the Rays with 11 doubles, 10 home runs, 29 RBI and 26 walks in 60 games, 54 starts (27-1B, 14-2B, 12-DH, 1-3B). He is the only player in the majors this year with at least 10 starts at first base and second base. Against left-handed pitching, he ranked among American League leaders (min. 30 at-bats) with a .377 batting average (third; 20-for-53), .468 on-base percentage (third), .736 slugging percentage (third) and 1.212 on-base plus slugging (second). He spent 24 games on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain. Pearce, a Lakeland native, is a 10-year major league veteran who signed with the Rays as a free agent on January 28.