Friday, May 29, 2009

Time to Sell High: Luke Scott?

Even though the Orioles are currently in last place in the AL East, there is plenty to be excited about for Orioles fans. Adam Jones is a stud, Nick Markakis is developing into one of the best players in the American League, and Matt Wieters is scheduled to make his debut later today. Slowly but surely, the pieces are starting to come into place for the Orioles.

But make no mistake about it, there is still lots of work to be done before the Orioles can be thought of as legitimate contenders. The starting rotation is a mess and the bullpen is one of the worst in baseball. While the offense has been stellar this season, there is no doubt that the Orioles need more quality young arms, even with Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz rapidly advancing through the system.

That's where Luke Scott comes in. The Orioles DH is putting together his finest season to date by hitting .311 with 7 HRs, 19 RBI, and an impressive .397 on base percentage. The 30 year old Scott is under the Orioles control until 2013 and comes at a relatively inexpensive price (for now), but there are several compelling reasons why GM Andy McPhail should look into trading Scott.

1. His value has never been higher

-Outside of a brief stretch in 2006, Scott has never been this good of a player. If McPhail wants to maximize return on Scott, now is the time to do it.

2. The future

-Even though Scott is playing well right now, he is likely not the Orioles future plans. Scott is almost 31 years old, , which is not old, but probably too old for Scott to be considered a building block for the future. Moving him now would bring back some potential building blocks.

3. Salary

-If Scott keeps up this pace, then there is no doubt that his price tag will go up. Scott is arbitration eligible and there is no doubt that he will get a raise. The Orioles would be better off saving that money and using those funds on pitching-whether it be in the free agent market or in the draft.

McPhail should be praying to his lucky stars that Scott keeps up this pace at the plate. If so, I can definitely see a scenario where multiple teams jockey for Scott in the coming months. Because he's under contract for the next few seasons, he is an attractive player for teams with both high and low payrolls.

And while Scott's age is a good reason for the O's to trade him, Scott is in his "prime" right now, which is another positive for prospective teams.

So when it comes down to it, the Orioles need to remain focused on the future. If they can parlay Scott into a few potentially valuable pieces, then that is a move that Andy McPhail has to make.


tHeMARksMiTh said...

He did just get off the DL. Teams might wait a month or two to trade for him.

jorgesaysno said...

Yes, that's a good point. But Scott has been tearing the cover off the ball since he returned.

Christopher Collichio said...

The Orioles can't just trade all their players who are 30 or older. We need to have some veteran guidance on this team. Teams aren't stupid, they know what Luke Scott is capable of, and can see through the fact that he is just on a hot streak at the moment. We have to remember that Melvin is going to need to be replaced pretty soon, and Huff is already involved in trade talks. Scott is a harmless veteran to keep, unlike Huff who will be asking for more money after the end of this year.