Sunday, July 20, 2008

Orioles Strategy: Trade Deadline

As the July 31st trade deadline approaches, the Orioles may be big players in the market for prospects. They have already made one deal, trading Mike McCoy for Juan Castro, a Triple-A shortstop. But, the Orioles are going for the long term. So, what are the Orioles needs, and will they move anyone to fill them?

Keep a few things in mind. The only teams that will trade for Major League roster players are teams that competing for a playoff run and not in the AL East division. This will limit options, but teams will still seek players to fill-in needs. Also, if the Orioles make too many moves, then big name free agents won't believe the Orioles will win in the near future; Mark Teixeira comes to mind. If the Orioles don't make any moves, then the value for current players may go down and the Orioles possible prospects would not be as talented. This happened with Miguel Tejada. It isn't an easy process for anyone to deal with.

Orioles primary needs- shortstop, first baseman
Secondary- third base, left field, starting pitching

(Note: All stats are as of July 18th and according to Yahoo Sports)

Will B-Rob stay in B-more?
Tale of the Tape: .292, 49 extra base hits (7 HR), 27/36 SB
Salary: $6.3 million
Brian Roberts is probably the most wanted player on the O's. A very consistent player the last few years, the 30-year-old second baseman is a solid leadoff hitter. History has shown that Peter Angelos is very protective of Roberts. The Cubs had shown interest before the beginning of the season, but there would have to be a big deal for the face of the franchise to be traded.

By George, is he leaving?
Tale of the Tape: 2-4, 3.98 ERA, 40.2 IP, 29 SV
Salary: $980,000
The 31-year-old George Sherrill has been quite the surprise for the O's. Southpaw relievers are prized since there a few of them in the majors. No contender would want Sherrill as a closer, so they won't trade talent equal to a closer's worth. Likely by this season's end, he'll have never pitched more innings in a season. The counter: there is no telling whether Chris Ray would be ready next year or if Baltimore could replace Sherrill with another lefty.

Will the O's huff, puff, get "blow your house" down deal?
Tale of the Tape: .289, 19 HR, 61 RBI
Salary: $8 million
Aubrey Huff has become the Orioles best power hitter. The 31-year-old is mainly a DH but can play third or first base. Though he's had two decent years with the Birds, he hasn't shown power like this the last few years; no telling if he'll be consistent. The Orioles probably wouldn't get much from a trade with Huff except a dump of salary, which isn't a huge deal to Angelos right now.

Will the submarine launch from the harbor?
Tale of the Tape: 3-3, 2.62 ERA, 34.1 IP, 11 K
Salary: $3,666,667
Chad Bradford is a solid short relief pitcher: a righty submariner who forces many ground balls. The 34-year-old has only given up a 4+ ERA one season since 2001. He normally can't go longer than an inning during an outing. Like Sherill, Bradford's value is limited due to the fact that he wouldn't be a closer to a contender, but his services could be useful to team with bullpen needs.

Is it Millar Time for someone?
Tale of the Tape: .239, 12 HR, 47 RBI
Salary: $3.8 million
Kevin Millar wouldn't get traded for his potential numbers or for the future (he's 36). But Millar is the undesputed leader of the clubhouse, and a few teams might want his presence to help morale of a team. He is in a contract year and isn't part of the Orioles future. But, the fact that the Birds wouldn't get much for him and that he's such a great teammate might keep him here.

I believe at least one of the above will be traded before the deadline, but Andy MacPhail will not make a deal unless he believes it is very helpful to the future of the franchise.

(Photo credits: Major League Baseball)

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