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Free Trade?

fair trade certified logoThe MLB trade deadline is just over a month away. Between now and then we’re going to find wild speculation nearly inescapable. Indeed, it’s already underway. Pretty much every time I tune in baseball talk on the radio, the topic of which Orioles to trade or not trade is at least mentioned.

At the beginning of the year most of us — I’m guessing — figured on the O’s being ten or fifteen games under .500 and in active “sell” mode by the deadline. I suppose that might still happen, but for purposes of this post I’m going to assume that we’re still hovering around .500. And if we are, the question of what to do becomes way more interesting.

While this is the Lost Season, winning is good. Real good. If we have a realistic shot at posting a winning season then there is no reason to screw with it. Progress is progress and there’s no sense in ignoring it just because it came “too soon” or didn’t take the exact form we thought it would take.

Every offer, then, has to be evaluated not only on the potential return, but also on the potential impact to the team as presently constituted. That’s a problem we didn’t expect to have, but it’s a hell of a thing.

What kind of message would it send to Markakis and Jones and Wieters and Arrieta — and all of our prospects — if AndyMac busted up a good thing because it’s happening too soon?

What we’re trying to do is establish a winning culture that will put us in a position of strength for the next ten years. You don’t do that by short-circuiting a chance at a good thing. If, of course, it’s a realistic chance. I’m well aware that a lot can change in the next five weeks.

That all said, here’s how I see it today.

Huff, Payton, and Sherrill all figure to have value. Of these three, the one I’d be most reluctant to move is Sherrill. He’s more valuable here than what we’d realistically get in return. Plus, he’s FlatBrim.

Roberts will likewise have value, but he’s an Oriole and we need to focus on keeping it that way.

I’m sure we’d all be fine with moving Ramon or Walker or Bradford, but who’s going to want them?

And as far as the DC Cab, he needs to stay because, dammit, we’ve suffered with him for so long that it’d be criminal to let him find his way with another team.

Ultimately it comes down to trusting MacPhail, of course. But it’s important to keep the notion of progress in mind. This team looks like it has a chance to do something special (defined here as “not suck”) and I’d be real, real hesitant to ruin it.


21 comments to Free Trade?

  • Mike L

    This is why I’m not the GM or owner of a baseball team. I couldnt make these decisions. It seems like damned if you do damned if you don’t when it comes to the trade deadline.

    Roberts: Cant move him. He’ll be our only all-star. (Sherrill should be too but you know Francona will take Rodriguez and Papelbon as closers.) Mora: He’s one of the tops in BA w/ RISP, but what is that worth to other teams. Also he’s the longest tenured oriole. Millar: he’s the captain. his attitude is one reason we are where we are, even if he doesnt get it done at the plate often. Huff: He’s chasing a 30HR 100RBI season. Any team would love a guy like that. But again, there has been numerous games that we wouldnt have won if not for a clutch Huff hit.

    I guess what i’m getting at is here is theres an upside and a downside to trading someone out of the lineup. the team is running on pure chemistry, and we cant screw with that. not this year i dont think.

    I hate to say it, but maybe if we trade sherill, and a couple others for a big big bat, it wouldnt be a bad idea. He is 31, and the life span of closers isnt long anyway. You do have your exceptions like rivera, and hoffman, but not that many closers are consistant year in and year out. Jim Johnson could fill the void, and when Ray comes back he could either get his role back, or be setup for JJ.

    But it would be a dick move for the FO to trade flatbrim. “Heres a t-shirt night in your honor! Peace out homie!” He is the reason we are in the position were in. he is lights out in close games. the paper said when he struck out 3 batters after loading the bases was only the 6th time in baseball history thats happened. hard to believe i know.

    So damned if you do damned if you dont. Like i’ve said to this point, i just have to trust whatever move andymac makes, or doesnt make will be the right one

  • Mike L

    also cutting ties with mora, or huff would free up more money for us to go get Texiera in the offseason. The Mets, and Yanks both need firstbasemen, and will probably throw ungodly amounts of money at him that we need to match if he wants to come home

  • Andrew out of Rochester

    MIke, I think a better thing to say is that the closer is an overrated position on a baseball team that is relatively easy to replace. I feel like good closers that last a while are the rule rather than the exception, considering there’s lots of good or great closers out there that have been pitching for a long time like Joe Nathan, Troy Percival, Tom Gordon, Billy Wagner, etc etc.

    If the Orioles can’t afford Tex now, they aren’t going to be able to later. We sit around 66 million in payroll, and we used to lead the league in payroll for a while. I don’t think getting rid of Aubrey Huff is going to change that. I also don’t know if Tex is worth the money he’ll get. That’s an important question, too, you know.

    Also, Melvin Mora = no trade clause + not that good. Who would take him that he’d be willing to play for? So he’s basically untradeable. Its not as easy as just saying “We’ll trade Mora”.

    So, if I were in charge, I’d put Bradford and Sherrill on the market and see if you can’t get a good deal for either one of them, but of course it would take a lot to give up Georgie, since we have him through 2010. Bradford’s been pretty good actually, and has been good for a while, so I imagine there’s a team like Philadelphia that could use the bullpen help.

    The rest of the team I’d keep together until the offseason. You hope that they don’t suddenly give up in August and September, but hopefully a guy like Huff after a 30 home run year with only a year left on his contract is pretty darn tradeable. But I’d like to see Roberts get extended – I think he likes what he sees and would be open to it again – and outside of Mllar, Huff, and Payton, I’d pretty much bring back the same team next year (perhaps the bullpen would look different…but it always does)

  • Joe the Guy

    Holy cow, AooR summed up my sentiments, at 657 in the morning no less. Well done, sir. I just erased a whole paragraph of Tex rant because it would have been redundant.

    I do agree Neal that BRob is an example of a player on this team who’s presence outweighs his market value.

    The ONLY such player.

    Please explain yourself here:

    “He’s more valuable here than what we’d realistically get in return.”

    Sherrill is this year’s Eric Gagne, we should be able to not only trade him, but to truly milk some desperate “contender”. I will be ashamed if they choose not to.

  • dan the man

    I agree that you can’t blow something up simply because good things are happening “too soon”. By God, this town needs to see its baseball team finish at or above .500 and end the streak.

    That said, the work is far from over with this team.

    The way I see it, guys like Walker, Bradford, Payton, and Hernandez you look to trade at the deadline to a contending team looking to bolster their relief pitching, their bench, and their backstop. Guys like Huff, Sherrill, Mora: maybe you wait until the offseason to see what’s up.

    Huff is finally hitting as advertised and his attitude has improved immensely. I’m impressed with his turnaround – we were all ready to make him the whipping boy of this Lost Season, but instead he’s carrying the team and chasing 30 and 100, as Mike said. He’s got one year left – I don’t see a problem with letting him take Millar’s place at 1B when we don’t sign Tex.

    Someone is going to get traded before the deadline. The numbers are too good for these guys: Payton is batting like .260+ with about 30 RBI and approaching 10 HRs and plays good D. Somebody needs this guy. Millar works the count and has 11 HRs, 40+ RBI, and plays good D. Somebody needs that guy. Somebody definitely needs Bradford, with his sub-3.00 ERA and groundball tendency.

  • dan the man

    And just for the record, I’m down with letting Mora ride out his contract here in Baltimore with one more year at 3B/The Bench. He’s been a good Oriole and is the longest tenured one at that. He plays hard, has 10,000 children, and is a good clubhouse guy despite his shitty fucking .230 BA. No one is going to want the guy, so let him go down in Oriole history as one of their most productive third basemen.

  • neal s

    @ Joe: two things. First, I don’t think anybody is going to repeat the Gagne disaster. I suppose there’s a chance Andy can work some more magic, and if he can find a deal like that then he’d have to do it. But how often, really, do relief pitchers net big returns? Remember, also, that Sherrill doesn’t have anything close to Gagne’s track record.

    Second, I think Sherrill’s value here goes deeper than just his saves. He’s a folk hero, and teams need guys like that. You don’t keep a folk hero who sucks, of course, but if he’s playing well you can’t ignore the value of intangibles.

    @ Andrew: completely agree about Teixeira. That’s a real tough call, and I’m not sure it’s one we absolutely have to make anymore.

    @ DtM: I think Payton is the guy who’s almost certain to go.

    There is obviously still a lot of work to do to get the O’s in position to realistically contend for a playoff spot. In the meantime, I think a winning season is a goal worth chasing. Gotta get there before you get to the other place.

  • dan the man

    And I go back and forth on Sherrill constantly. He’s really really valuable to our improved bullpen and his intangible gangster ass presence is doing great things for this team. But if you can really fleece a team for something like a real shortstop, and some top prospects, then I think maybe you do it.

    But then you imagine him in a bullpen with Chris Ray, Jim Johnson, Matt Albers, Randor Bierd, Jim Hoey, F-Cab if he’s any good… I mean, damn you got yourself a bullpen right there. And you need a lefty, and we have no good lefty relievers in the system, really.

  • Andrew out of Rochester

    I agree, Sherrill is sort of the glue holding the team together for some reason. You don’t want to pull that guy away from the team suddenly, even for decent value…it’s weird. However I still worry about the increased workload on his arm.

    And I don’t think a team out there is going to be willing to give us a Gagne package for him because a) the Gagne package burned the Red Sox badly last year and everyone saw it, and b) Andy MacPhail has burned three teams badly so far and everyone’s seen it. At some point the other GMs have to say, “Well, he’s probably trying to burn us, too.” I don’t know anything about how the GM game is played, but in my head it’s sort of like calling up a rookie. He’s on fire at first, and then the league adjusts.

    So, I think Chadford is the most likely to be traded, and really everyone else except Millar and Payton can wait to be dealt in the offseason. I’m starting to believe that the team isn’t going to quit on us, and that should make all these guys on 1 year contracts who just had a great year look very appetizing.

  • df1570

    I’m not a “former” TLC contributor.

    I’m a partially-disgruntled TLC contributor on hiatus.

    There’s a difference.

    Anyway, I just sat down and typed out a 20-minute response to Neal’s drivel about my stance on “who fixed the Orioles”. It was lengthy, accurate and would have probably caused more harm than good, which the truth usually does. Especially around here.

    So, I deleted it.

    And I’ll throw this up instead…and head to the golf course.

    I made a prediction on the air today that the O’s will have 55 wins by the time they go to NY on July 28.

    I’ll check back later on to see how back-pats I get for being “Mr. Optimist.”

    The over/under is 2.5.

    Neal, I had you pegged as a guy with a little more analytical wherewithall than your “itch that needed to be scratched” memo revealed. To borrow a line from The Breakfast Club…”I expected more from a varsity letterman.”

    Have a good weekend guys.

  • Andrew out of Rochester

    Drew, I always have a good weekend in beautiful Maryland. Who doesn’t?

    55 wins would put us at…15-12 between now and then. I put up my estimate for ASG record of 4 over – although we played better than I thought against the ‘Stros and Cubs, and worse against Milwaukee, so now I think 5 over at the break…so, I actually think Drew’s right on the money with a 55-49 record going into New York at the end of July. Wow. I hadn’t thought of it as 6 games over .500 in nearly August. Wow.

    Don’t forget, Drewski, your critics have critics.

  • neal s

    It’s a shame you didn’t post it, Drew. Your opinions are as welcome as everyone else’s.

    As far as my lack of analytical wherewithal: why would you expect anything else from an Orioles shill who worries 24/7 that someone (someone besides you, of course) will discover his secret relationship with the team? That kind of deception takes a lot of energy and sometimes I slip up in other areas. Try not to hold it against me.

  • neal s

    As to the stuff that matters…

    I don’t think 55 wins at that point is unreasonable at all…which is really an amazing thing when you get down to it. This team has a legitimate shot at a winning season. Not saying it’s a likelihood just yet, only that the chance is legit. How awesome is that?

  • neal s

    Hey, Andrew: that “your critics have critics” line has been rolling around in my head for like twenty minutes. I’m genuinely curious what you mean by that.

  • Andrew out of Rochester

    It’s just a saying, Neal, I didn’t mean anything pointed.

  • neal s

    Oh yeah, I didn’t take it as a bad thing. It was just an interesting addition to the conversation.

    On the one hand I often find Drew’s approach to conversation rather stupefying. On the other hand, he’s made his share of valid points, and I know there is room for me to improve my work, my stewardship of the site, etc.

    So, you know, just interesting.

  • Joe the Guy

    I wish he had posted it, too.

    I like his writing, I really do. But that last post was a real cop-out.

    He also had included the missing 18 minutes of watergate audio and a cure for cancer but he deleted those too.

    Who needs all that hooplah?

  • neal s

    I really don’t want to belabor this point, but since I know Drew will be back and will read this I want to take a minute to be very clear.

    If you go back and read what I said in the other thread, it goes like this:

    1. I said I found you taking credit for “fixing” the Orioles ridiculous.
    2. It was pointed out to me that I might be an idiot because you were just kidding.
    3. I said, if that is the case then I’m wrong and that’s the end of it.

    There’s really only two ways you can go with this.

    One, you really do want credit for fixing the O’s. If that’s the case, see #1 above.

    Two, you really were just kidding and I was too dense to see it. If that’s the case, see #s 2 and 3 above (to which I’ll add that I’m sorry for misunderstanding and speaking too soon).

    Fair enough?

  • Andrew out of Rochester

    Boy, we here in Birdland can’t even have a good team without controversy. Boy oh boy.

  • Andrew out of Rochester

    Fahey up, Salazar down. What’d Salazar do wrong? Well, he isn’t skinny, white, useless, a shortstop, and he hit a home run. He is the opposite of Fahey in every way.

    By the way, tonight’s lineup, which ends in Fahey-Cabrera, is horrendous. Huff’s on the bench, Scott’s on the bench. We got a great bench (which explains actually why we dont need Oscar), but that lineup….well, it’s lucky we’re playing the Nats, let’s just say that.

    Over under on Fahey hits? That’d be 0.5. Place your bets!

  • neal s

    Oh man I’m betting the under. But! The over/under on Fahey hustle and charm is 87%, on which I’m betting the over.