Tigers trade Steve Lombardozzi to Orioles for Alex Gonzalez

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

The Orioles turned a non-roster invitee into a potentially useful bench piece.
The Orioles turned a non-roster invitee into a potentially useful bench piece. (USATSI)

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The Tigers continue to stockpile shortstop depth in the wake of Jose Iglesias' likely season-ending injury. They have traded utility man Steve Lombardozzi to the Orioles for veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez, the Orioles announced.

Gonzalez, 37, was in camp with Baltimore on a minor league contract. He has played only 65 games over the last two seasons, all with the Brewers and only 27 at shortstop. Gonzalez hit .211/.256/.325 (56 OPS+) with five home runs during that time, including .177/.203/.230 with one homer in 2014.

The Tigers recently acquired shortstop Andrew Romine from the Angels to help replace Iglesias, who is out with stress fractures in both legs. Gonzalez and Romine join Hernan Perez and Danny Worth as the team's options at shortstop. The unsigned Stephen Drew remains a possibility as well.

Lombardozzi, 25, was part of this offseason's Doug Fister trade. He has hit .264/.297/.342 (74 OPS+) with five home runs and nine stolen bases in 257 games with the Nationals over the last three years. Lombardozzi has a bunch of MLB time at second base, third base, and in left field. As a young, useful bench piece, he's an excellent return for a 37-year-old veteran who was in camp as a non-roster invitee.

The Orioles do not figure have to have Manny Machado at the start of the season following his offseason knee surgery, so Lombardozzi gives them added infield depth. He could wind up being their everyday second baseman -- or at least part of a platoon -- while Ryan Flaherty mans the hot corner during Machado's absence.

To clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Lombardozzi, the Orioles designated catcher Johnny Monell for assignment. The 27-year-old appeared in 11 games for Baltimore last season, going 1-for-8 with a hit-by-pitch and two runs scored.

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