The Orioles have stated for the record that they would not be making trades as the deadline approaches, simply for the sake of making a trade. With the return of Cesar Izturis coming this week though, possibly as soon as Friday, the O’s will be forced to either make a deal or lose someone.
Oscar Salazar was the player called in to fill Izturis’ roster spot when he was sent on the DL. MASN reported during the game the other day that Salazar would have to clear waivers in order to be sent back to the farm. By hitting .385 in limited duty during his time here, Salazar has all but assured that he won’t clear waivers if exposed, thereby making it all but impossible to send him back to AAA. And with the near certainty that the O’s will be looking to fill holes at first and third base again next season, Salazar would make for a nice insurance policy to keep around.
Otherwise, it would seem that the only position players with options remaining on their contracts would be Wieters and Reimold. Wieters would obviously have to be replaced with another catcher, ruling him out, and it’s tough to envision the O’s sending Reimold back, even if just for a few days, until they could settle the roster.
If the Pie experiment is officially over, then perhaps it’s him being dealt or exposed to waivers to facilitate Izturis’ return. For now though, Pie seems to be settling nicely into the role of 4th outfielder. If he were the guy to be sent out, it would leave only Luke Scott as a 4th outfielder. Surely the team could get by with that for a time if needed, but sooner or later, they’d need to bring in Gathright or someone else, as a true 4th outfielder.
Wigginton’s spot on the roster seems all but assured, and while Huff seems the most logical trade candidate, getting value in return would likely mean that a deal like that could take time to work out. If the deadline is Friday, the decision will be anybody’s guess. With the All-Star Break looming, perhaps a pitcher could be sent out for a couple of days, to allow MacPhail the break to try and work it out. Or maybe they could just leave Izturis down until after the break.
Moving Huff, especially if it means hanging on to Salazar may make the most sense, as it gives the O’s a chance to evaluate Salazar at the Major League level for the rest of the season. Otherwise the choice becomes much more difficult.
Maybe instead the answer is the outright release of Melvin Mora. It’s tough, because he can still play, and he’s one of the most likable players on the team, from a fans standpoint. But from an organizational standpoint, he’s been struggling for most of the season, he’s one of the few guys that you’ve already decided won’t be here for the long term, and despite any potential trade value that he may have, Mora also has that looming no trade clause. The likelihood that the O’s could or would get anything of value in return for Mora before season’s end is getting slimmer and slimmer.
For Mora, it’d probably be like a reprieve, a chance to collect his thoughts, evaluate his future, and align himself with a winner of his own choosing. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.
So long Mel…Have a good trip.