Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baltimore Orioles: Outline Of A Firesale

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:

The Obvious

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.

Debatable

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.

Your thoughts?

6 comments:

Alan said...

You forgot the key...the most important piece to the the Orioles future success: TRADE THE OWNER!!

The O's have several young pitchers who are a year or two away from being in the Majors. Unfortunately, due to lack of alternatives, they are playing for the team right now.

Behemoth said...

Since hiring MacPhail, the owner has not been a problem. And the young pitchers they've called up have not really been rushed, they are basically ready; they're just not as good as the pitchers waiting in the wings (Tillman, Arrieta, Matusz). The O's are doing a lot of things right these days.

machowolf said...

Luke scott should be traded, as should aubrey huff. However I disagree on sherill because he is a much cheaper option than a free agent closer in the off season and better than anyone in the pipeline to take his place.

So, who needs to go?

Melvin Mora and Gregg Zaun are the two who make the most sense. Mora is a free agent..unlikely to return and Zaun will be a back up and nothing more in Baltimore with the arrival of Matt Wieters, and the O's can get a backup catcher in return during one trade. I could see a Zaun/Izturis/Ray for Guzman/Marrero swap between the O's and nats.

Mora makes sense as a dh/1st and 3rd backup...so the yanks might have interest in him for that kind of role. Phil Coke in return should be enough there.

I have to admit I am surprised that nobody has mentioned the cubs as a firesale team. I don't think they will get peavy and he isn't going to upgrade the offense, Aramis Rameriez won't be enough and to many guys under performed and the AAA system isn't what it was a couple of years ago.
Simply put there is a team that should sell, starting with Harden, Gregg, Johnson and Lee. Get value for them now and rebuild for a run next year and beyond.

jorgesaysno said...

Alan: Best move Angelos ever made was hiring McPhail and staying far, far away from baseball operations!

Behemoth: The Orioles are on the rise...no doubt. It would not surprise me to see the Orioles compete in 2011.

machwolf: the only problem with the Cubs selling is that none of those guys have much value right now besides Lee...the return would be to small to justify the trade.

Daniel said...

Josh,

Moving Baez is less likely than you think considering his contract. Though its the last year of his deal, hes making 5.5m plus he is still getting some of his signing bonus (putting this years actual pay at 7.16m) and he gets 500k for each time he gets traded. But if we can get anything for him I would be absurdly happy (I've hated him since the moment he signed that ridiculous contract).

-Dan

jorgesaysno said...

We'll see if Baez's contract will stop teams from making a play for him. I actually don't think his contract will stop teams from making a play for Baez, especially since he has nothing guaranteed for 2010.