With all the talk of potential trades this week, I’ve heard a lot of commentary from fans on facebook, twitter, and in person regarding whether or not the Baltimore Orioles should trade the likes of Matt Wieters and/or J.J. Hardy. I heard multiple people refer to Wieters as the “cornerstone of the franchise.” Speaking for myself, I’d still give that nod to Adam Jones in the sense that he was the first piece in place of what we currently know as the Orioles. The trade that brought Jones to Baltimore is still the stuff of legends; furthermore the term “cornerstone” means just that – the first piece.
However are there differing opinions out there as to who the cornerstone of the franchise is? Or perhaps that should be restated – what constitutes the cornerstone of the franchise? Some might say that it’s the most important player on the team. If that’s the case, I’d say it’s probably either Jones or Manny Machado. However this is certainly a fluid discussion; a year ago I think most people would have included Wieters in that discussion. Now along with Hardy, he might be on the trading block for all we know. However here’s a dark horse candidate: Chris Tillman. As we all know one of the most glaring deficiencies in the 2013 Orioles was the starting pitching. Tillman went 16-7 on the year, and justifiably should have had 19 or 20 wins had the bullpen not blown leads. So remove Tillman from the rotation, and the Orioles really have an issue. That brings them back to the type of rotations they had in 2007-2011 or so.
Who’s the cornerstone or the most important player on the team is probably irrelevant in most senses. I would argue that a steady hand in the dugout and in the front office is almost just as important if not more important than who’s untouchable in trades. So tell me Birdland, what are your thoughts?