Thursday, July 30, 2009

No More Excitement in Baltimore, Sherrill is Traded

The "Brim Reaper" is no more in Baltimore. George Sherrill, Baltimore's reliable closer the past two seasons, has been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two minor leaguers, third baseman Josh Bell and pitcher Steve Johnson, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Sherrill was gracious is his leaving Baltimore, saying that "The future is bright in Baltimore" and that it was fun to be here. He will be on a team that will compete for the playoffs this season. He'll likely be a left-handed specialist and not a closer due to Jonathan Broxton being a solid closer already in LA. For the Orioles, probably Jim Johnson will take the closer's role.

The rundown on the new prospects in the Sherrill trade:
Josh Bell, 22 (23 in November)
--4th round pick by the Dodgers in 2005
--Third baseman, switch hitter
--This season hit .296 with 11 home runs and 52 RBI in 94 games in Double-A Chattanooga
--70-50 BB-K ratio
--Had "preventative knee surgery" in June 2008
Steve Johnson, 21 (22 on August 31st)
--13th round pick by the Dodgers in 2005
--Baltimore native, St. Paul's graduate, son of MASN's Dave Johnson
--Starting Pitcher, right-handed
--Promoted to Double-A Chattanooga, in two starts: 1-1, five runs, two earned (1.69 ERA), 15-2 K-BB ratio

So the Orioles try to improve their minor league pitching as well as a player that looks like a future third base star.

This is a trade that is hard to see if it was good, but this is what Andy MacPhail needs to do. The minor league system still needs work due to its lack of depth, and the best way is to get new prospects. Third base is a clear void in the minors for the Orioles, so Bell gives that position a great prospect, and MacPhail's strategy is always to improve pitching in the minors.

Sherrill is a fan favorite here due to his "exciting" closing ability and his flat cap, but as much as we love him, he was not part of the Orioles future. Obviously MacPhail does not want to trade every good player will value that is over 30, but Sherrill was valuable now and it seems as if they got two decent prospects out of it.

It will take a while before we find out if this trade will work out. Likely both these prospects will head to Bowie for their assignments and we probably won't see either of them until at least 2011. For MacPhail's sake, one of these two better pan out; it is not a good thing for fans to trade one of the fan favorites. But good luck to George Sherrill, and bring some excitement to the Dodgers.

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