The Orioles, sitting at 43-40, are playing solid, consistent baseball for the first time in a long time. And they’re doing it with a team that was supposed to lose 100 games. I think we can all cast aside that sentiment...with their current line up, they might actually finish above .500 this year!
But their current line up will not win them a World Series title. They’re not the Red Sox. They’re not the Rays. They aren’t going to win the AL East. I hope I'm telling you things that you already know and that this isn't a shock to you.
Even though they have been exciting to watch over the past few months, they aren’t going to win anything this year and the organization must stay the course. The Orioles must be sellers in the trade market.
Granted, nobody thought that the Orioles would be in this position come early July. But it’s important to not lose perspective. They’re rebuilding…and for a rebuilding team to be above .500 at the All-Star break is reason for the fans to celebrate. And it’s not because our team is winning for a change.
It’s because the O's have put themselves in a position to make some promising trades. As long as they aren’t trading Roberts, Markakis, or Jones, they should package whoever they feel is necessary to a contending team with a young starting pitcher or middle infield prospects. Honestly, I’d even be willing to part with Roberts if the trade yielded what the Bedard and Tejada trades gave us. Let’s look at some potential trades:
With the injury to David Ortiz, the Red Sox are looking for a powerful left-handed bat to hit a few balls over the short porch at Fenway. This is where Aubrey Huff comes in...could the Orioles move Aubrey Huff to the Red Sox and tap into their plethora of minor league talent? That’s certainly a plausible option.
Could the O's move Guthrie to the Tigers and get a top middle infield prospect in return? Detroit has the 2 nd worst team ERA in the AL, but their offense is starting to produce and they’re beginning surge upward in the AL Central. They’re begging for pitching help.
And the Orioles are begging for middle infield help. The Tigers have a young guy named Danny Worth in the minors, who by all accounts is an outstanding shorstop. That trade would help the Tigers now, but it could end up looking like a great trade for the Orioles a few years down the road. Danny Worth is a beast of a shortstop and I'd love to see him in orange and black.
No matter who the Orioles move, they should definitely move somebody as long as the juice is worth the squeeze…i.e. don’t trade Jim Johnson to the Diamondbacks for a radar gun and some jock straps.
Remaining idle in the trade market (if the options are available) is the height of stupidity in a rebuilding year for any team. Then again, when was the last time the Orioles executed a series of decisions (whether it be marketing or baseball decisions) that ANY business would consider intelligent or “good for business?”
It’s also important to remember that they’re not the only team looking to bolster their roster at the trade deadline. The Orioles will have to compete with all of the other sellers in the league to land top prospects. And with other teams willing to roll the dice and overpay for prime prospects, the O’s could be idle during the trade deadline because King Peter refuses to shell out the dough. I hope that's not true, but it's certainly possible.
With MacPhail at the helm, I'm pretty sure that's not the case...especially considering what MacPhail has done for this club in the short few months he’s been here. He has a great reputation around MLB. I don’t think he would have accepted this job in the first place if he had the slightest worry about whether or not he would be vetoed or overridden by Peter the Terrible.
The Orioles should take the same approach the Rays did: build from the ground up and sacrifice some wins now so you can win consistently in the future..even if that means the Birds don’t finish above .500 this year, despite the early success.
Now, I still hope the O's finish over .500. I just don’t think it’s smart to get caught up in trying to finish over .500 this year instead of preparing for the future. We’ve lost for about a decade! What’s two or three more years?
It's all worth it...as long as the Orioles do it right.
Happy Independence Day…enjoy the weekend.