The Royals announced they have traded first baseman Ryan O’Hearn to the Baltimore Orioles for cash considerations. O’Hearn was designated for assignment last week to make room for Jordan Lyles. Baltimore will now be responsible for O’Hearn’s $1.4 million contract that the Royals signed this fall.
The move ends O’Hearn’s five-year career with the Royals. Originally an eighth-round pick out of Sam Houston State, O’Hearn made his MLB debut in 2018. He was a sensation over 44 games in his initial season, smacking 12 home runs with good plate discipline and a line of .262/.353/.597. But he was never able to recapture that magic and hit just .211/.282/.351 in 298 games over the next four seasons, with just 26 home runs in 901 plate appearances.
With Ryan Mountcastle at first base in Baltimore, O’Hearn is most likely suited for a bench role, with some semi-regular time at DH. He could presumably improve with a ban on defensive shifts next year - his wOBA last year was .251 against a shift but .323 without a shift. However he does hit the ball into the ground a lot and only hit one home run last year 145 plate appearances, so the Orioles will need to get him to elevate much more.