I apologize if you were looking for more of an introduction from my first post, but I’d much rather just dig right in!
Not long ago, Andy MacPhail and the Orioles were abuzz with trade talks. It was expected that the fans would be looking at a very different roster come spring training, after MacPhail was finished orchestrating blockbuster deal after blockbuster deal. The hot stove season even started off with a bang with the trade of Miguel Tejada to the Astros for 5 players. However, as you probably have noticed, things have slowed down a bit and don’t be surprised if most of the excitement is behind us. That doesn’t mean that MacPhail is done and will sit pat with what he’s got, but the rest of his plans to remodel the roster may resemble the recent purchase of outfielder Chris Roberson from the Phillies for cash. Roberson doesn’t have a ton of upside. A best case scenario would probably have him playing a good defensive centerfield everyday and batting near the bottom of the lineup. Smaller moves, such as this one, designed to create more depth and competition in spring training, is all I see coming between now and the start of the ’08 season.
There are still players that MacPhail could look to trade, but the likelihood of their being moved is dwindling by the day. Melvin Mora, Aubrey Huff and Jay Payton could all be traded, but it will be hard to find anyone who is willing to give up much for them, not to mention the problem presented by Mora’s full no-trade clause.
Everyone is interested in Erik Bedard, but MacPhail is seeking a talent loaded package of players in return. The most interested/motivated organizations have also made other moves that decrease their sense of urgency. The Dodgers signed Japanese import Hiroki Kuroda, Seattle signed starting pitcher Carlos Silva and Cincinnati traded for pitching prospect Edinson Volquez. None of those arms are of Bedard’s caliber, but they do offer their prospective teams more depth at starting pitcher and decreases the likelihood that they’ll be willing to empty their farm system for him. MacPhail released a statement that Bedard will most likely be our opening day starter, and that may be the best way to go. If we can’t get the package we want for Bedard now, wait until someone is willing to give it. Once the season starts and injuries start to pile up, we may have more teams calling MacPhail to check on Bedard’s availability. The same could apply to Mora, Huff and Payton.
If you’re dying to see one more big trade by the Orioles this winter, second baseman Brian Roberts is probably your best bet. The Cubs have expressed interest and MacPhail is very familiar with their farm system, so a deal could be struck there. The problem with that is that any deal with the Cubs for Roberts will most likely either leave the Orioles with a glaring hole at second base and at the top of the lineup, or the package we’d be seeking wouldn’t have the upside worthy of a trade for the 2 time All-Star. In case you didn’t follow, I’m referring to either targeting the best prospects we could get from the Cubs, or making sure Roberts’ replacement is included.
All things considered, the Orioles are still committed to rebuilding. The headlines are just different.