O’s today: Trade winds blowing into Baltimore?

June 16, 2009 | Drew Forrester

Don’t look now, but some of the national sports media entities are starting to do what we at WNST have been doing for the last four weeks or so.  That is, sifting through the names of Orioles players and deciding which of them are worthy of consideration for trading deadline deals at the end of July.

Bob Haynie and I have covered this subject substantially since, oh, I don’t know — early May or so.  It was right about then, on the day after another uninspired performance from Jeremy Guthrie, perhaps, when Haynie and I both said, “Let’s start talking about who we can move at the deadline.”

That’s Baltimore baseball 2009, I suppose.  Summer isn’t officially here yet and we’re already knee-deep into discussions about who we can jettison at the end of July. 

I guess I can sum up my thoughts like this:  These three players are untouchable — Markakis, Jones and Wieters.  

The other 22 on the 25-man roster can all be had for the right price.  Some, actually, wouldn’t even take “the right price”…”make me an offer” might constitute as attractive enough for a handful of players.

Yes, as much as it pains me to do it, I’d even make Brian Roberts available.  He’d definitely fall in the “right price” category for sure.  And you’d probably have to overwhelm me to pry Roberts away — but in all fairness – and this goes completely against what I thought this time a year ago – if moving BRob helps improve the team in 2010, 2011 and beyond, then I say pull the trigger and let’s move on.

I’d hate to see him go.  The guy has been the team’s model performer throughout the decade.  He’s toiled in the organization for 8+ years and has played as many games that mattered as me, you and Chris Martin of Coldplay.  To say Roberts’ career in Baltimore has been painful would be putting it nicely.  

And I think it’s starting to wear on him.  I know he signed that nice, fat contract over the winter and he said all the right things and, likely, felt all the right things at the time — but the losing has continued (or, as Morrissey once sang, “The Malady Lingers On…) and Roberts, maybe more than anyone else, gives the impression it’s finally starting to wear him down.

I can’t blame him, really.  Call it the 8-year itch.  As in, “itching to play for a winner.”  Memo to BRob:  “Ain’t happening here anytime soon, pal.”

So I’d put Roberts’ name on the “available” list, along with just about every other player on the team.  

Guys like Bergesen and Reimold are too green to be wanted by anyone yet…and I like what I’ve seen of both of them — to the extent that I wouldn’t actively try and move either of them, obviously.  

But, as far as veterans go…guys with a track record who could help someone in the stretch drive?  They’re all up for grabs.

For the right price.

Luke Scott?  Move him if you can get better by shipping him out.  Aubrey Huff?  I’ve been saying this for two months.  I’d sit down with Huff right now and give him until July 25 to work out a new two or three year contract with the O’s.  I’d be up front with him.  “Aubrey…we want you back.  We want to sign you for two or three years.  Here’s our offer.  If you don’t sign with us before July 25, we’re going to trade you.”  If Huff calls our bluff, his bags will be packed just after Bastille Day and off he goes as well.  No sense in waiting for late November for Huff to sign on with with the Red Sox and we get nothing for him. Move him now if that’s how it’s going to shake out.

Guthrie?  I’ve said this for the last six weeks:  Someone will ABSOLUTELY take him in late July, as long as he’s healthy.  If his new team doesn’t cut his salary by $120k like the braintrust O’s did in March, he might even overperform for the new club in the playoff race.  

George Sherrill?  Buh-bye.  Danys Baez?  Nice comeback, kid.  See ya.  

They’re all available.  

Except for Markakis, Jones and Wieters — that is. 

The rest can be had.

Some would be tougher to part company with than others.  

Izturis has been a nice addition.  Pie, obviously, hasn’t.  Either way, they’re both on the block.

With the team’s new philosophy of “we’re not going to win anyway”, it makes it much easier to send guys packing at the end of July.  

We’re “building for the future”, of course.

In late July, when we’re 20 games out of first and going nowhere fast, some other teams are going to be dreaming of Fall baseball.  And they’ll need a player or two to help get them over the hump.

We might have a handful of those kinds of “hump” players.

Let the trade winds blow.  Let the fleecing commence.

Just think…if we can sail this ship through the end of July, we’ll have six weeks of trade talks lead us right into the start of football season. 

Can’t ask for more than that.

Except for winning, of course.

Whoa…we’re not ready to take that step yet.

But if the right deals are made in the next 6 weeks, winning might be closer than you think.