|The Orioles need to continue to stock talent around Adam Jones and their young core. (US Presswire)|
Winning is never bad, is it?
Well, yes. I believe it has been to this point for two ball clubs: The Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles.
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The A's are pretty hot, and have climbed into serious playoff contention -- though it's frankly still too early to be overly focused on the wild-card spots. Oakland has won nine of its past 11 and sits two games above .500, far beyond the expectations that were in place heading into this season. Now, reports are surfacing that the A's might be buyers at the trade deadline.
What if the A's fall out of the playoff race quickly in August, much like the Indians and Pirates did, for example, last season? It'll look like missed opportunities. Jonny Gomes, Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour could have some value, but likely wouldn't land much back. But what about Brandon McCarthy? He is 6-3 with a 2.54 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, is in his prime, is cheap and is a free agent at the end of the season.
Instead, Billy Beane might cough up some prospects to try to win this season. That could be detrimental to the rebuilding project he started last offseason while dealing Andrew Bailey, Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill.
The Orioles, meanwhile, are moving in the wrong direction. They have been playing horrible baseball for just under a month. It would be a great story if they hung around, but their pitching just isn't equipped to deal with the AL East the rest of this season. In a few years, Dylan Bundy will be an ace and it's very possible the likes of Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman join him to form a postseason-level staff.
But instead of continuing to stock the minor-league system with pitching -- and offense to surround the Adam Jones-Matt Wieters core -- the Orioles might be buyers. Again, that could be a detriment for the process of building a long-term foundation.
Didn't anyone learn anything from the Indians' Ubaldo Jimenez trade last season, in which they gave up talented young arms in Drew Pomeranz and Alex White?
Note: The Pirates might be lumped into this conversation by some, but I believe they desperately need to shed the .500 monkey from their back as soon as possible. Thus, even if you believe they'll fall apart (I don't, for the record), we can't say the position they are in at present is bad for the long-term growth of the franchise. Everyone -- from fans to local media to players to management -- needs to see that 82nd win for morale purposes.
As always, rankings, comments and stats are through Tuesday. Please feel free to contact me via email with comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.