Baltimore Orioles: What’s truly impotant at the deadline?
The big question hanging over the heads of the Baltimore Orioles is do they buy some help, or sell off the likes of Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, and possibly others? Let state unequivocally that my personal assessment is that the struggles to score runs is both surprising and concerning. However I still do believe that given the right moves, this team can still make a run at the post season. Laugh if you will, but that’s where I stand.
So obviously, my view is still for this team to buy. However that decision could also be affected by who’s available and what other teams are going to ask for in return. Incidentally while the concept of selling generally means you’re building for next year and all but “giving up” for this season, don’t discount the possibility of the team passive-aggressively doing both. They have some great prospects in the minors such as Dariel Alvarez, Christian Walker, and Trey Mancini. Combine some of them with whatever haul the O’s could get in return for a guy like Matt Wieters, and is it not possible that they could still make a run at it?
Call to the Pen
Odds are that it isn’t likely, needless to say. But stranger things have happened. The idea is to inject some life into the offense; some of these young guys could do just that. But my hope is that Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter flat out aren’t listening to fans who in recent days have been calling on the team to sell. And that’s not said because I think those fans are wrong – they’re all entitled to their opinions. And if you’re in that camp, your opinion is valid. However right or wrong, what’s the old saying in sports?…if you listen to the fans too much, you’ll end up joining them.
Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
The decision to buy or sell can’t be one that’s influenced by outsiders, in other words. It has to be a business decision that’s made by baseball people – both in the front office and in the dugout. If Duquette allows fans (who granted are akin to paying customers) to influence what he does, he’s not the GM that we thought he was. And I don’t say that thinking that he’s letting the fans make the decision; I’m just throwing it out there.
That aside, there’s also another factor involved in this – which if you’re in the “sell camp,” you have no choice but to agknowledge. If the Orioles decide to part with the likes of Davis and Wieters, what could they possibly get in return? Everyone now wants to criticize the trade that brought Andrew Miller to Baltimore last year (although I maintain it was a good move at that time); the Orioles would be doing the exact same thing with Davis and Wieters. Both are in contract years and will be free agents.
If you look at it from the flip side, a lot of folks will be angry if the Orioles decided to acuqire a player such as Justin Upton in exchange for a prospect. They’ll say he’s a rental and thus the Orioles shouldn’t have given away a prospect to get him. Yet that exactly what some people want the Orioles to do with guys like Davis and Wieters.
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Here’s the bottom line: if you’re going to part with one or both of them, you absolutely have to ensure that you get a fair haul for them. It’s so easy to say get anything you can for them because anything is better than them walking and you get nothing. But in fact that’s not true; if they walk (after having turned down a qualifying offer of course), the Orioles will get a compensatory draft pick from whomever signs them. So not only would a potential trade partner have to compensate the Orioles for the player(s), but they’d also have to factor in the fact that the O’s would be losing a potential draft choice in making the trade(s).
A counter-argument to that could well be that you can’t overvalue your players. However you as an organization can’t allow other teams to undervalue them either. Wieters and Davis’ values have already taken a hit due to the fact that they’re in walk years. Heck, the Orioles could even trade them and re-sign them in the off season like they did one year with Mike Bordick (and incidentally they got Melvin Mora in that trade). But if you aren’t going to get the proper return for guys, I would say keep them and either try to re-sign them or get the extra pick.
This all factors into why the Orioles still need to be buyers in the market. They need to get someone that can drive runs in and get on base. But other teams aren’t going to give the Orioles what they should get in return for any of their players. Heck, some might even try to lower the price just by bringing up Davis’ drug suspension last year.
But if your point is that they need to get more guys in the pipeline down on the farm, you should be in favor of buying also. Not only does it give the Orioles a better shot at keeping their players beyond this season, but the compensatory draft picks next year (assuming they don’t re-sign them) would help the farm system. But ultimately this is Duquette and Showalter’s decision. If they’re listening to the fans or even to me, they aren’t doing their jobs.
Next: Baltimore Orioles: Time to be sellers?