Baltimore Orioles: How important is a draft pick?

Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Should the Baltimore Orioles surrender their first and/or second round draft picks for free agents?

With the Baltimore Orioles still looking at potential free agent signings, the elephant in the room has often been the status of their first and/or second round draft pick(s). In many cases, signing a player would require the Birds to send that player’s former team their highest draft choice this coming June. And that’s something that Dan Duquette is hesitant to do for the most part.

So here’s my question to fans; is it worth signing a free agent – any free agent – if it’s going to cost the O’s a pick? My personal stance is that if it’s the right free agent, then perhaps it might be worth it. Which leads to a

Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

follow-up question; is Yovani Gallardo the right free agent?

And my answer to that is that he might be. I think he could make a decent impact with the Orioles, however the one thing that the Birds are missing at this point is a southpaw in the starting rotation. If there was a lefty out there with his potential, I’d say go for it. This is not to say that Gallardo isn’t the right fit (even for the price of a draft choice), but he’d be entering into a rotation that’s already saturated with right-handers.

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  • But I digress. The question of whether draft picks should be given up as such really boils down to how a team should be construed. I firmly believe in the draft as the modus operadi of building a team. Heck, I believe in it as a manner to build a dynasty. The likes of Machado, Matusz, Schoop, Reimold, Wieters, and Britton were all Oriole draft picks. And they’re complimented by the likes of Jones, Tillman, Davis, and Hardy, who were free agent signings. (I say that keeping in mind that Jones had very limited big league experience when he came to the Birds, and that Tillman actually made his major league debut with the Orioles.)

    So is it worth sacrificing something in the draft in the name of getting a player right now? That’s all a matter of opinion. As I said, if it’s the right situation and the right player, then yes. Not to mention that Duquette is really good at identifying talent later in the draft. So just because the Orioles don’t have a pick in the first or even the second round, they’re far from out of the game.

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    As I’ve alluded in the past, they also have a surplus of outfielders in the organization right now. It wouldn’t surprise me if they found themselves trying to deal an outfielder or two at some point – either for pitching or perhaps a prospect. All of that is in play.

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    Regardless of what happens, the O’s will make whichever decision is best for the organization. And in saying that, I mean the organization as a whole for the next couple of seasons – not just right now.