Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Would the Orioles Use Walker in a Trade?

It is obvious the Orioles are having trouble with starting pitching. By Chris Tillman giving up six runs today, his ERA on the year is up to an unimpressive 4.69. If the Orioles want to make a run for the postseason this year, they are going to have to acquire a true ace.

Baltimore needs a pitcher who can go at least seven innings every outing and someone who, when he is out there on the mound, makes everyone around him better from the bullpen to the utility players on the bench.

I see the Orioles have two options that are realistic in obtaining.

The first is David Price. With his ERA at the highest it has been since 2009, I truly believe the Rays are going to dump him.

Price is a luxury the Rays cannot afford. Harold Reynolds said on MLB Network just last week that he would be shocked if Price was still on the Rays’ roster by the All Star Break. With a need for more minor league talent, I foresee the Rays parting ways with their former Cy Young Award winner.

The other option and an option the Orioles would be hard-pressed in passing by is the Cubs’ ace, Jeff Samardzija. With his 1.68 ERA, which is second lowest in the MLB next to Adam Wainwright (1.67), the Cubs are going to have to trade him soon before his ERA goes up any more.

Although he is their best pitcher in the organization, the Cubs still find themselves in last place. They need players who can hit and hit consistently. The Cubs also need to improve their bullpen as well.

Obviously, the Orioles will not be able to obtain one of these pitching studs with just a second or first round draft pick in the upcoming years. These teams want somebody who is going to be a star for them and contribute almost immediately after signing his new contract with either the Rays or the Cubs.

With that being said, it comes down to the Orioles asking themselves, “What are we willing to give up?” Due to how much of an impact he has been for the team this year, Nelson Cruz cannot leave Baltimore. However, there are some players in the line up that I believe the Orioles can move forward without.

Nick Markakis. I know I will probably get a lot of flack for saying that but I think it is true. I see the Orioles as a team that can move Cruz over to right field and then bring up Francisco Peguero from Norfolk to play left. Although Markakis does have .295 average this year and just recently moved into eighth place for most hits all-time with the Baltimore Orioles, he does have his weaknesses.

In the field, Markakis never appears comfortable moving back on the ball. Along with this, he is not a power hitter. He will mainly only get you singles. This is a player that, however unfortunate because he has been with the team for so long, is expendable.

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Another player the Orioles may have to give up is one of their good relievers. I have not the slightest clue as to which one, but if the Orioles want Samardzija, they are going to have to give up a big name like Darren O’Day who has a 0.90 ERA and a 2-0 record this year.

If the Orioles really want Price, I can see them also offering up their #13 prospect Christian Walker. Walker is on a tear this year with the Bowie Baysox in Double-A. Hitting .330 with a .390 on-base percentage this season, Walker is a very promising player. Also driving the ball for 14 “round trippers” already this season, Walker has proved to be a power hitter.

In summary, if the Orioles want Price, I see them starting the trade talk by offering Markakis and Walker. If the Orioles want Samardzija, I see them offering Markakis and a top quality reliever like O’Day for starts and other possible prospects like Mike Wright and Kevin Gausman to follow. If Baltimore was able to land one of these two pitchers, what they would be gaining would far outweigh would they would be giving up.

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  • SteveF

    Dariel Alvarez is another name that could be in trade talks

  • omazing

    I stopped reading when you said “In the field, Markakis never appears comfortable moving back on the ball.”

    I’d suggest looking at some Markakis highlights, watching the actual games, or simply looking at the stats. It won’t happen. And it’s a terrible idea.

    If we’re getting any proven MLB talent it’s going to be in exchange for THE BEST YOUNG PROSPECTS we have. Gausman, Alvarez, Wright, Bundy, Britton, Schoop, Urrutia, E-Rod. That’s what rebuilding teams are after. Not guys on the wrong side of 30. And you definitely do not trade Markakis if you’re serious about making a playoff run.

  • Mike Franz

    Thank you Omazing and Steve for your comments. Steve, I agree Alvarez is on fire right now and definitely could be in the thick of things when its time to make moves on the trade market.

    Omazing although I respect your opinion, I have to disagree with you, Markakis makes great plays when he is moving IN on the ball, not BACK. A prime example of this was during the last Cleveland series. A ball which looked as though it could have been caught with a leaping grab turned into a home run because Markakis had a tough time locating the ball and made a bad jump on the ball.

    I agree Markakis is on the wrong side of 30, but with the Cubs signing Manny Ramirez yesterday, they obviously do not care about age. And if you would do me a favor and read the rest of my piece, I say for starters offer up these group of guys and then move into talks about players like Wright and Gausman. This is just one of the possible choices for Showalter. He has thousands to choose from. Everyone will have a difference of opinions when it comes to things like this. Just like you disagree with me, Showalter and Duquette might disagree with you. That is just life.

    Nevertheless, I appreciate and value both of your opinions and insist you to continue reading here at for possible more information on this topic as well as other topics that have to deal with the Orioles and their Minor League Affiliates.

    Go O’s!

    • FullCountTommy

      Manny was signed to be a coach who gets an occasional at bat. Theo said in his statement that he will not be called up. The Cubs would have absolutely zero interest in Markakis. A trade for Samardzija will probably need to include two of Bundy, Gausman, Harvey, and Rodriguez.

  • SonsofLombardi

    Markakis’ contract does not make him a viable trading chip. I love him as a player but he is extremely overpaid.

  • Mike Franz

    I am inclined to agree with you. However, Markakis is a great leadoff hitter. Cubs need people who can hit and hit consistently. And looking at the Cubs signing the old Manny Ramirez, it appears Chicago does not have a care for age at all. It that signing is their first step to rebuilding then they need to look up what rebuilding really means. Thank you for the feedback though and keep reading here at Birds Watcher for more

  • Hockeydude99

    Offer the Cubs Markakis, Wright, Buck Britton, De Jesus and Steven Johnson for Samardzija and either Kris Bryant or Alcantara. Something needs to be done about the lack of consistent starting pitching.

    • FullCountTommy

      This made my day, thank you

  • Mike Franz

    That is a good point. However, the only problem about Walker is he is a first baseman so if we choose to resign Davis to a long term deal then Walker is basically stuck in the minors unless Buck wants him to fill a DH role in the future and with Cruz more than likely becoming the all-time DH in the near future, I’m not sure his services will be used anytime soon. It all depends on Davis and if they choose to keep him.

    Walker would be a valuable prospect to use in trade discussions though. Power hitter is what the Cubs desperately need. Thanks for your insight though and keep reading here at Birds Watcher for more stories about trade possibilities and other topics that have to do with the O’s!

  • Tim

    Cubs will want prospects or at least players controlled for a few years like schoop not markakis who is in a walk year or ODay who I believe is in a walk year.

    Walker we should keep as Davis is not signing here. We don’t have the money or the team to put around him long term and be competitive.

  • Mike Franz

    Yes the Walker case is an interesting one. Hate to see Davis go, but it is a likely possibility. However, if Wieters ends up needing surgery, the Orioles may let him go freeing up some cap space to resign Davis. Thank you Tim for your comment though and keep tuning in to for more stories about the O’s

  • Mike Franz

    I will admit mjhurdle and ssckelley when I made that comment I had not read the full story about Ramirez yet just the fact that the Cubs signed him. However, now that I know he was hired more as a coach and less as a player, I still think that was a bad move. In 2009, Ramirez was suspended 50 games for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy.

    So the Cubs want a player who cheated molding young players in the Minor League system. What will Ramirez do honestly that could help these players; tell them where to get steriods at? This just was not a smart move by the Cubs in my eyes.

    • mjhurdle

      I personally like the move, but i can respect someone for not seeing it the same way.
      From my point of view, Ramirez (PEDS or not) is one of the greatest hitters the game has seen. He was known for an incredible work-ethic and study habits while playing (Bill Mueller (current Cubs hitting coach) said that Manny liked to encourage the stereotype of him as a lackadaisical, absent minded player because he felt it helped pitchers underestimate him).
      I do not condone his use of PEDs, but he did serve his punishment. Epstein knows him about as well as anyone, and if he felt that there was something there that could be offered, i’m trusting him at this point. I have a hard time believing the Cubs would go through this PR if they didn’t believe he could offer some value.
      And if it turns out he can’t, then the Cubs aren’t really out anything.
      And for what it is worth, Mike Olt said that Ramirez broke down his swing and offered him some advice after watching him for about 5 minutes last year when they were in the Rangers AAA together.

      • Mike Franz

        You have a point there. It is just tough to hear someone used PEDs at the end of their playing career because you never know when it started and if he had been using them his entire career. Just one of those things where you have a tough time ignoring that “asterisk” next to his name just like it is difficult to ignore Sammy Sosa’s and Barry Bonds’.

        The good thing about Nelson Cruz is that the year after he was caught with them, he is leading the League in home runs so we know he can still play. If Ramirez can contribute to the development of the Cubs’ Minor Leaguers then I say great. That is such an historic park and I love going to games at Wrigley Field. It is about time that great field has a great team to play on it. Thanks for the comment and keep reading for further development of this and other Orioles stories here at Birds Watcher

  • ubetonit

    WHY would the Cubs or anyone want Markakis & his bloated contract? Ask yourself that question. Trades don’t happen just because we don’t want our player; the other team has to want that player. Furthermore, the Cubs on May 2013, gave Anthony Rizzo, their 24 y.o. first baseman, a 7 year, $41 million deal. Why would they want Walker ? They also have another 1b-type power hitting prospect Mike Olt, 25 y.o. at 3b.

    Nice effort, but this wasn’t well thought through.