Baltimore Orioles: West is a Cardinal direction


You might wonder what I’m trying to say with this title of mine. Aside from being the state bird of Virginia, and the mascot at Stanford University, Cardinals is also the nickname of the baseball team in St. Louis, and the defending World Series champions at that. (And yes before you rip my head off, I know that at Stanford the mascot is actually singular in that it’s The Cardinal. Technicalities people…) For the record, this is not a nursery rhyme and I’m most certainly not Mother Goose so let’s stop this talk of birds!

St. Louis Cardinals’ beat writer for the St. Louis Dispatch Joe Strauss sent out the following tweet last night:

“Cards fans may start paying attention to the Baltimore Orioles. #Developing”

Hmm, hmmm…and hmmm some more. After seeing that I tweeted Strauss back and asked what was up. Not surprisingly, I received no response. On behalf of Birds Watcher and all of the readers, I know I’m offended. Nevertheless, it’s probably something worth tracking at an arm’s length. Interestingly enough, Strauss also spent some time as an Oriole beat writer for the Baltimore Sun, so he has connections to both teams. The question is, what’s up?

For all I know Strauss might be predicting that the O’s will have a breakout season. While that in itself may be a possibility for all I know, I don’t think it was the intended implication. After doing a thorough internet search, I can’t find anything that’s linking the O’s and Cardinals in any sort of trade. As we all know, that’s not to say that there isn’t something in the works. Notice that Strauss used #Developing at the end of the tweet. The two teams might have a handshake agreement to do business together, however they may still be working out the terms.

The question is who would the Orioles be giving up? Obviously Adam Jones is the Oriole that’s been talked about as being traded for some time. The Cardinals were in the market for an outfielder earlier this winter, however they signed free agent Carlos Beltran and now one would think they were set. However who really knows? Given that the O’s now seem to have a log jam of pitchers, would they again consider moving someone such as Jeremy Guthrie? I would say that in terms of being a risky move, that would be much riskier than moving Jones. Despite his record, Guthrie has been the Birds’ best pitcher for a long period of time. If he were to be traded, the Orioles would be committing to youngsters that have flopped a bit, as well as brand new players.

However let’s look at it from the other side; where could the Orioles benefit from a piece that the Cardinals have? Despite the above-mentioned log jam, what the Orioles need is pitching. When I say that, I mean solid pitching. I do still believe that the likes of Arrieta, Matusz, etc. can be solid. However at the moment they’re still unproven. So I’m talking about someone that can step in and win some games today. If St. Louis was to give up Chris Carpenter I’d say that could be the biggest coup in recent history in terms of a trade. However let’s be realistic; I could see the O’s prying Adam Wainwright loose from the Cardinals. Last year Wainwright posted his first ever 20-win season coming off of Tommy Johns surgery. He had an ERA of 2.42, and only gave up 15 HR’s. That would be a welcome addition to the Orioles’ pitching staff!

Normally I would say that trading a pitcher (who plays once every five days) for a position player (who plays everyday) is a bad idea. And let me state for the record that I feel Adam Jones has more value to the Orioles on the field than on the trading block. Let’s not forget that he was last year’s Most Valuable Oriole, and that he’s a fan favorite. However IF he’s a potential trade chip, I presume that Dan Duquette has done his due dilligence and come to the conclusion that Jones probably won’t re-sign with the O’s. If that’s the case, I suppose it wouldn’t do either side any good to let him play out his contract and walk.

This is all nothing more than the exchange of ideas given that there appears to be no chatter out there regarding anything (aside from Strauss’ tweet which was steeped in mystery). My prediction and my hope is that Adam Jones is the starting center fielder for the Orioles on Opening Day at Camden Yards. But only time will tell.

Follow me on Twitter @DomenicVadala

Retraction/Edit: It’s been brought to my attention that Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals sat out the 2011 season after having Tommy Johns surgery. I apologize for this oversight; to further add to this, he posted 20 wins for the first time in 2010.