The Baltimore Orioles have reportedly re-acquired L.J. Hoes from the Houston Astros, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The outfielder goes back to the Orioles for cash considerations. Hoes was traded by Baltimore for starting pitcher Bud Norris at the 2013 trade deadline, and struggled to get meaningful playing time with the Astros.
Hoes, 25, was ranked the Orioles fifth-best prospect back in 2012. He was drafted in the third round of the amateur draft by the Orioles back in 2008, and is a career .237 hitter. He is a versatile player in the outfield, but has not been able to find consistency early in his career. Hoes is a player that the Orioles have a sense of familiarity with. The club that initially drafted him out of high school may be able to jump start his career.
Hoes is eligible for arbitration in 2018 and can become a free agent as early as 2021. Houston has significant outfield depth, and young OF Preston Tucker has surpassed Hoes, which made him expendable.
While this is a solid move for the club, the Orioles still have many issues to address during free agency. Their top free agent is Chris Davis who played some outfield during the 2015 season. Outfielder Gerardo Parra, acquired at the trade deadline from the Milwaukee Breweres, is also free agent. The Orioles are hoping that Hoes can provide depth if Davis and Parra depart in free agency, which is a legitimate possibility.
Orioles GM Dan Duquette commented on the trade and said, “We are glad to have LJ Hoes back with Orioles, he’s versatile/dependable OF with good on-base ability & a good teammate.” While Hoes is not a major piece, he is someone that still shows promise and hopes to capture what the Orioles thought they had when they drafted him.