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AL East Notes: O's re-up McLouth

12/05/2012 5:29 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

After a two-week stint as a Marlin, Yunel Escobar is back in the AL East.(AP)
The penultimate day of baseball’s Winter Meetings has been a rough one for the Yankees – at least in their search for a short-term replacement for Alex Rodriguez at third base, as 2012 Yankee Eric Chavez and potential target Jeff Keppinger both came off the board.

While reports have come out in the late afternoon that the Yankees have met with the agent of Orioles slugger Mark Reynolds, Wednesday has already brought resolution for a handful of notable players whose removal from the market affects New York in some way.

Inside the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles have reportedly re-signed outfielder Nate McLouth to a one-year deal worth $2 million base and up to $500,000 more in bonuses. After a rough start to 2012 in Pittsburgh, the 31-year-old McLouth joined the Orioles in June and blossomed, hitting .268 with seven home runs, 18 RBI, 35 runs, and 12 steals in 55 games. He became the team’s everyday left fielder down the stretch (and leadoff hitter after Nick Markakis was lost), and went on to hit .318 with a homer and three RBI in the AL Division Series against the Yankees.

The Tampa Bay Rays also made some noise, officially welcoming shortstop Yunel Escobar to the team after acquiring him from the Miami Marlins in a trade late Tuesday night. Escobar hit .253 with nine homers and 51 RBI for Toronto last season, and was sent to Miami two weeks ago as part of the deal that saw the Jays acquire Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Josh Johnson.

"We believe that he's going to fit in really well in our clubhouse," said Rays executive vice president for baseball operations Andrew Friedman. "It sounds like he's extremely happy about being here, being a Ray, and he knows he's going to be welcomed into our clubhouse. But yeah, I think it's safe to say we did a lot of work on it, talked to a lot of people and felt comfortable that it's a calculated risk on a good player that we feel like can help us and fit in really well in our environment."

In that vein, Friedman also said that he doesn’t believe the shortstop, who was suspended last season for writing derogatory slurs on his eye black, will be a disciplinary problem at all.

"I think he definitely learned a lesson from the eye-black incident," Friedman said. "I think it had a real impact on him and that he feels remorse about it. And the digging that we did — we believe that it was an isolated incident and that nothing of that nature will be a concern going forward, or we wouldn't have acquired him."

In terms of former Yankees, reliever Randy Choate reportedly has a new home, agreeing to a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals that WFAN's Sweeny Murti reports is a three-year, $7.5 million pact. Choate, 37, posted a 3.03 ERA in 38 2/3 innings for the Marlins and Dodgers last season, and has limited lefties to a .201 average over his 12-year career. Choate began that career in New York, pitching for the Yankees from 2000-03 and going 3-2 with a 4.43 ERA in 91 total appearances before being sent to Montreal in the Javier Vazquez deal in December 2003.

And as for other New Yorkers, Jason Bay is close to officially “officially” being gone from the Big Apple, as CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports that Bay has agreed to a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners. According to Heyman, the deal is pending a physical but is close to being finalized as of Wednesday afternoon, and whatever the terms are will be deducted from the $21 million the Mets owe him after releasing him from his contract a year early.

Bay was a disappointment in Queens, struggling with injuries in his three years with the Mets and posting a .234-26-124 total line in 288 games. He batted just .165 with eight homers and 20 RBI in 70 games in 2012, and the 34-year-old will certainly hope to be rejuvenated by a fresh start elsewhere.

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