Should the Baltimore Orioles explore trade options?


Let’s play devil’s advocate a bit. In reality, next year is a huge off season for the Baltimore Orioles. Both Chris Davis and Matt Wieters will be free agents as it stands now. There appears to be no question that the Orioles would like to keep both of them, but the question is whether or not they can do so. Therefore while it may not be a popular topic to discuss, the next question is whether or not the Birds should explore trade possibilities with one – or both of them.

Again, not a popular topic for sure. Let me be the first to say that if the O’s were going to go down that route, odds are they wouldn’t trade both players. I might be wrong of course, however you can’t replace that much power at the drop of a dime. Not only that, but both players of course are plus defenders at their positions, and I’m not sure that the O’s are prepared to replace them both (at the same time) in the field.

The ideal solution for the Orioles here is of course to just sign both players long term. But I would submit that they won’t be able to keep both of them – so let’s just assume for the time being that’s not possible. So would it not make sense to get something for one of them? I would say that their trade value is at it’s highest during this off season (probably would have been higher last year, but I digress).

Of course the Orioles could explore a trade possibility during the season as well, but that would probably only happen near the trade deadline if the team was out of contention. And they’re certainly hoping that’s not going to end up being the case. But the Orioles have to think about this strategically in terms of who they might trade, and to whom. Minus Wieters, I think they’re probably in better shape at the catcher position than they would be at first base minus Davis.

But wait – there’s more. The Birds also have Boston and New York in their divisions, both of whom

were down last year. But we all know they won’t be down for long given the funds they have to spend. So it would behoove the Birds to perhaps cater a trade so as to keep both players away from those franchises. And given that, Matt Wieters might be the odd man out.

NY just signed Brian McCann last season, so they’re set at catcher. However they could probably use a first baseman given that Mark Texeira hasn’t exactly been playing a lot of late. So sending Davis out of the organization makes it tougher for the Birds to keep him away from a team like NY. Boston has an aging Mike Napoli at first, although they could probably use a catcher like Wieters. But that might be a risk worth taking.

Trading either one would be a tough pill for the Orioles to swallow because keep in mind that Matt Wieters was a prized prospect. And while Davis was never a prospect in the Orioles system, they literally stole him from Texas and he’s been a big part of what they’ve been doing since then. Again, the ideal solution is for them to keep both players and sign them long-term. And I don’t discount that it could be possible – I don’t know what the organization’s finances are like.

To that point, the O’s have shown a great interest over the past couple of years in keeping “their guys.” They stepped up in 2012 and gave Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy extensions, and of course they exteded Hardy again last month. They’re currently working on doing the same with Nick Markakis, and there’s no reason to believe that won’t happen.

Having said that, if they were to trade one of those two, they have to look at replacements. That’s why I say that Wieters might be the guy to get sent out given that scenario. I think that Caleb Joseph is much more suited to move into the starters role right now than Christian Walker would be at first base. This is not to say that Walker won’t be there one day – because I think he will be – but he’s just not ready now. Time will tell I suppose, but these are all questions the Orioles need to be asking themselves, and bets they need to be hedging right now as we speak.