Posted on: June 18, 2009 2:08 pm
Edited on: June 18, 2009 6:32 pm
There is so much talk about trading some of the Orioles veterans to obtain prospects. I think that the O's would be better off if they did absolutely nothing at the trading deadline with any veteran position player. Some spare parts in the bullpen, perhaps, but that's it. Here's why:
The Orioles don't need prospects that will take two or three years to develop. The offense is very good now and with just a tweaking could get better without going outside of the organization. Why mess around with a good thing? Andy McPhail has already stated that negotiations on a contract extension with Aubrey Huff is under way. That's good news and about time. Huff can play 1B (fairly well too), 3B and both corner outfield spots. If Brandon Snyder continues his demolition of AA ball, he could be at Norfolk to start the second half of the season and in Baltimore next year. He would follow Nolan Reimold and Matt Wieters as the next good hitting prospect. The real dilemna is whether to take the option on Melvin Mora. IMO, I think Mora will heat up some in the second half and the O's will pick up his option. With Ty Wigginton and Cesar Izturis signed through next season, there is no need to look for a powerful bat off the bench or a shortstop via free agency. Gregg Zaun's option may also be picked up. If not, Chad Moeller will make his return to the club. Robert Andino would be the next order of business. He has been an excellent utility player off the bench and will have accrued only two service years after this season so the O's control his contract.. The biggest headache over the winter will be what to do with Felix Pie. He, too, will have just two service years, but like Andino, he is out of minor league options. I think he stays as the fourth outfielder until Snyder is called up to the parent club. That leaves Lou Montanez and Oscar Salazar on the outside looking in again. The Orioles will have the same look as last year with Snyder being called up in May similar to the way Wieters was.
The pitching staff will have a somewhat different look, but there will probably be no outsiders added. The starting rotation will have Jeremy Guthrie at the top followed by Brad Bergesen and Rich J. Hill. Chris Tillman, Troy Patton and Jake Arrieta will battle for the last two spots with the loser going to Norfolk to join lefties Zach Britton and Brian Matusz. The bullpen will still have George Sherrill, Jim R. Johnson and Chris Ray at the back, along with Koji Uehara, David Hernandez and Wilfrido Perez as upgrades in the middle innings. The last bullpen spot will come down to Chris Waters, Dennis Sarfate, Kam Mickolio, Brian Bass Mark Hendrickson, Matt Albers, Jim Miller and Jim Hoey. Although I'd prefer another lefty, I'd bet on Albers or Sarfate (if he fully recovers).
The offense will be better as this season progresses with youngsters Nolan Reimold and Matt Wieters learning the hitting nuances of the major leagues. It only seems resonable that the O's keep that potent offense to support the young pitching staff. Trading away Luke Scott or Huff would weaken the offensive punch and disturb the chemistry. The O's will have potent bats from the leadoff hitter through the number eight spot, with a speedy switch hiiting Izturis at the bottom.
The only trades I can see happening are the following:
Danys Baez is in a contract year and is an expensive bullpen arm. He will not fetch a ransome but perhaps a middle level prospect at the trading deadline.
Lou Montanez may be traded, but it won't be until this winter. same goes for Salazar.
Mark Hendrickson and Brian Bass, and any bullpen arm other than Sherrill, Johnson and Ray could also be moved.
The Orioles will not receive any prized prospects at all for any of their trading chips unless they trade Guthrie. Even Scott and Huff will not bring back a corner infielder of the future.
Trading Guthrie who makes just $0.65m but enters his arbitration years may make sense. He is the only Orioles non-rookie player (not named Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis) other than Sherrill that would garner major interest and bring back a higher level prospect or two.
But I wouldn't be surprised if the Orioles did nothing at all or minor trading at best. The parts of a competitive team are either here or arriving daily (so it seems). Unless the O's get offers that blow them away, why trade Huff or Scott to take two steps backwards? I wouldn't.
Posted on: April 23, 2009 2:13 pm
Edited on: April 23, 2009 2:20 pm
they need to produce.
The organization is counting on the top level of prospects today to help the team win today and in the future. In doing so, it encourages other teams to deal with us. Their success equals the O's ability to sell the lower level prospects in different trade scenarios. Other teams will be more apt to deal with a successful team in terms of developing their minor leaguers. Therefore, in an attempt to solidify needs at the major league level, the O's will need to trade from it's depth at all levels of the minor leagues. In other words, use the depth players as "trade bait."
There has been alot of talk of how deep the Orioles minor league pitching goes. Baltimore, for as long as I can recall, has never had three pitching prospects and four overall prospects in the minor league's top 50 overall. Well, a new age in Baltimore history has dawned. The minor league system in it's entirety is one of baseball's best. A far cry from just two years ago. And although we got a little help via trade, most are home grown talents. Here's a look at the top prospects and others who will in one way or another rebuild the Orioles franchise into the proud organization it once was.
Matt Wieters is the concensious number one O's prospect. He ranks #1 in Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, #2 in the Scouting Book and MiLB, and #3 in TSN. He's a stud hitter and fielder at the catcher position that is usually weak at one or the other. He's big, powerful and switch hits. He'll be playing in Camden Yards and hitting in the middle of the line-up on a regular basis before the all star break this year.
Chris Tillman is the Orioles number two rated prospect and is listed as high as #5 overall in the Scouting Book to as low as #33 in TSN. He is the only one of the top four that came from another organization. He was originally drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the second round of the 2006 June draft. He came to Baltimore in the Erik Bedard trade prior to the 2008 baseball season. He projects as a solid top three rotation pitcher and should be up with the big league club this season.
The Orioles had such great regard for their third best overall prospect, Brian Matusz, that they signed him to a major league contract right out of college. Baseball Prospectus ranks him at a best #19 overall and the Scouting Book has him at a low at #34. He is a powerful left hander who has enough poise to succeed in the majors now. He will get his regular rotation spot in 2010.
Jake Arrieta is number four on the Orioles prospect list. He rates as high as #36 in MiLB and as low as #67 in Baseball America. But like Wieters, Tillman and Matusz ahead of him, he grades out into the top 50 overall. Jake has ace potential and should be a permanent member of the O's rotation sometime in 2010.
The previous four O's prospects are top 50, but the Orioles have others that will impact the future of Birds baseball as well. Outfielders Nolan Reimold and Lou Montanez are ready to be productive now, while Matt Angle, power hitting Billy Rowell and speedster Xavier Avery are right behind them. The infield position is somewhat thin in numbers, but offers hope in Brandon Snyder, Brandon Waring, Justin Turner, Elvin Polanco, Tyler Hensen and Jerome Hoes. And future pitching stars may include Pedro Beato, Chorye Spoone, Zach Britton, David Hernandez, Troy Patton, Jason Berken, Justin Moore, Jake Renshaw, Bobby Bundy, Richard Zagone and Brad Bergesen who was the first of the young arms to be called up.
For Orioles fans everywhere, the excitement of what's about to happen in Baltimore is almost overwhelming. For a fan base that has waited more than a decade to see Peter Angelos put a competitive product back on the field, it's almost tearful. For those of us who saw the Orioles dynasty in the late 1960's and early 1970's, it's a history we'd like to see repeated.