Baltimore Orioles: Neil Walker to the Birds?


According to MASNsports’ Roch Kubatko, the Baltimore Orioles expressed interest in trading for Pittsburgh’s Neil Walker last week during the GM’s meetings. Walker, 30, is a former first round pick who was drafted by and played his entire career for his hometown team of Pittsburgh. He’s a career .272 hitter, and a second baseman by trait – he can also play other infield positions, but is a suspect fielder.

Courtesy of Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE

Let me be only the latest to say that this comes across as an unnecessary move for the Orioles, and perhaps actually a bad one. I suppose that the Orioles might do okay by surrendering very little, however again according to Kubatko Pittsburgh’s looking for young pitching in return. There are also concerns about Walker’s defense, as he’s a career .989 fielder.

Walker is also a free agent at the end of 2016, so his contract status is somewhat up in the air. And apparently he was looking for a long-term contract, which Pittsburgh seemed hesitant to give. While I do believe in the concept of some players thriving after a change of air, all of that to me adds up to a red flag. 

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  • This is not to say that he wouldn’t have any value whatsoever. He’s a switch hitter, and he gets on base at a .338 clip. However he’s also eligible for arbitration once again this year, and he went to arbitration last season with Pittsburgh and lost. Given the Orioles’ track record in arbitration cases, if he came here and that scenario repeated itself you’d hate to see something along those lines being his first exposure to the Orioles’ fans.

    Again this is not to say that Walker is worthless. I just don’t think that his skill set is needed on this team at this moment. However mind you that like most GM’s, Dan Duquette often operates in the shadows in a sense. I don’t mean to say that he or anyone else is shaddy, however GM’s often do things for reasons unknown to the naked eye.

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    And quite frankly, fans should accept and be okay with that. If Duquette consistently said something along the lines of I’m going  after Walker because of [insert reason], everyone and their brother would know what he was doing and why. And that takes away leverage in negotiating. In this specific case, Pittsburgh would have no reason not to up their price. 

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    Again, I just don’t see Walker as a guy who would add too much value to the Orioles. I could be wrong, and it wouldn’t be the first time. For all I know he could come here and by the MVO next season – I don’t discount that possibility. Dan Duquette knows much better than do I, and that needs to be taken into account. However my advice to him would be to say thanks but no thanks.