For the Baltimore Orioles, 2009 represents two things: more of the same and hope.
More of the same: the Orioles are in last place and WILL/should be sellers at the trading deadline once again.
Hope: Where to begin here? Well, Matt Wieters has been called up to the show, Adam Jones has established himself as a star in the making, Luke Scott is tearing the cover off the ball, and Nolan Reimold is showing potential as the Orioles left fielder of the future. And oh yeah, that Markakis guy is a pretty good ballplayer too.
But while there is plenty of reason for optimism, there is still lots of work to be done if the Orioles are going to compete in the next few years. That work should begin in the next few weeks as the Orioles take the yearly plunge into becoming sellers at the trading deadline. The goal has to be to trade away as many "expendable pieces" in return for young players, who might help the Orioles in the future.
So who should the Orioles look to move? Let's take a look:
1. Trade Aubrey Huff
-Huff is a free agent at the end of the season, which means that this will likely be his last season with the team. The Orioles have to be disappointed that Huff's strong performance in 2008 has not carried over into 2009, as Huff has just 8 homers, 41 RBIs, and a .323 OBP so far. The Orioles should hold a few more weeks before they move Huff in the hopes that his numbers improve unless they are blown away by a desperate team searching for some power (METS, METS, METS).
2. Trade George Sherrill
-Even though the Orioles control Sherrill's rights until 2012, there is no doubt in my mind that the Orioles should sell high on Sherill, right now. Here are my reasons why: a. age Sherrill is 32 years old, which is quite old for a team looking to rebuild with youth b. closers? If you look at the marketplace now, what other closers are going to be available? The only two I can think of right now are Qualls and Valverde. This means that the Orioles would have ample opportunity to sell high on Sherrill because demand for closers should be high, but the supply of quality, experienced closers is limited.
3. Trade Danys Baez
-The biggest gift the Orioles have received this season has been the revival of Baez, who currently sports a 3.15 ERA out of the bullpen and has been one of the Orioles best relief pitchers to date. But like Huff, Baez is a free agent at the end of the season and might not have a future with the Orioles. With that in mind, the Orioles should move Baez to a team seeking a solid relief pitcher and hope for a strong package in return for Baez.
1. Trade Luke Scott
-Since coming off the DL almost a month ago, Scott has been the Orioles best hitter and has dramatically raised his trade value. For the season, Scott is hitting .315 with 14 homers and 36 RBIs to go along with an impressive .400 OBP. There is no doubt that Scott has developed into an impact player with the bat and someone who could help a contender. But should the Orioles look into trading Scott? If they are looking to sell high, there is no better time than now to try and move Scott. His numbers have never been this good over a full season and he seems to be finally coming into his own. But would the Orioles really want to trade a soon to be 31 year old, who looks like he could hit 30-35 home runs a season, and is not a free agent until 2013?
Conclusion: The Orioles should be open to trading any veteran, who they deem expendable as long as the package they get in return, is substantial, fair, and exactly what they're looking for.