The Orioles’ lineup has shuffled around a bit in the last week with Adam Jones off at the WBC and Nick Markakis being injured. One name we’ve kept seeing in the lineup is Ryan Flaherty, who of course is now a full-fledged member of the Baltimore Orioles. I put it in those terms because you’ll recall that last season Flaherty was required to be on the major league roster for the duration of the regular season given that he was a Rule 5 draft pick. Had he been sent down to the minors, he would have been sent back to the Cubs’ organization. However since he was on the Orioles roster for the entire season (the exception being a stint in the minors on an injury rehab assignment), he’s now with the Orioles as long as they want him (through the duration of his contract).
I think Flaherty’s a great utility guy to have on the team, and there’s little doubt that at various points last season he came up big for the Orioles. Thus far in spring training he has two home runs, one of which was of the walk off variety (he hit another one in yesterday’s 5-2 loss to Pittsburgh). I suppose my question is whether or not Flaherty isn’t worth something to the Orioles on the trade market. There’s little doubt that the Birds have a huge abundance of players, some of whom will presumably not be with the organization once the regular season begins in a few weeks. However perhaps you can lump Flaherty in with the likes of a Conor Jackson and Steve Pearce among others in that he’s a guy that’s capable of playing in a few different spots. That type of guy is always good to have on the roster or in the organization, however I’m not sure you want more than one of them.
I’m not proposing that the O’s get rid of Ryan Flaherty – now or in the future. If Flaherty ceased to be a member of the Orioles right now for one reason or another, he would be a guy whom I would hope Orioles fans would remember fondly for his role in last year’s playoff run. (How many Rule 5 guys end up participating in the postseason during their Rule 5 season?!) However the fact is that in some cases players end up being worth more to teams on the trade block than they are on the field. I’m reminded that last year the Chicago Cubs appeared to regret the fact that they had lost Flaherty in the Rule 5 draft, so obviously the O’s aren’t the only ones who took note of his season last year.
For the time being, I see the odds of Flaherty being traded as doubtful. The only trades that get done at this point are low-level trades involving prospects. Obviously the New York Yankees are a team that might be in need of some pop in their lineup, however one would hope that a team would be hesitant to become trade partners with someone in their division. I suspect that the Orioles will break camp with Flaherty in the organization, however as we move through the spring and early summer if the Orioles are in contention and need to make a move perhaps his name might be floated out there as trade bait. If not, I’m sure that the Orioles would have no problem keeping him.