Not sure how many of you out there reading this article would consider yourselves DMX fans, but when I think of the Orioles right now, losers of 5 of their last 6 games, I can’t help but keep thinking about the song “Slippin” he had out back in the 90s. The chorus starts off with the line “I’m slippin, I’m fallin, I can’t get up.” As far as Baltimore in the AL East Standings, this song sure sounds fitting. A month ago, the Orioles were first place, riding a wave of optimism. Jason Hammel was 6-2 with a 3.06 ERA. Rewind a month and a half ago, and Nick Markakis still had both of his arms in tact. Don’t get me wrong; the O’s have plenty to feel good about heading into the All Star Break. Pending they do not lose all seven games out on the West Coast, the O’s will finish with a record above .500 for the first half of the season. That’s not too bad in arguably the toughest division in baseball year in and year out.
However, it’s not good enough. This team has given the fans in this city a taste of success, and the last thing people want to see is management taking their foot off the gas because they do not believe that they should trade prospects to win now. And to win now, make a move now. Do not wait until the trade deadline on July 29th to make a move, by then this team could easily fall back to mediocrity and pave the way for Ravens preseason talk to dominate the airwaves before August begins. There should be no All-Star “Break” for Dan Duquette, he needs to keep this team in contention before it is too late.
Now, I am not suggesting the Orioles get crazy and give up the house for Zach Greinke, the unheralded best starting pitcher at the deadline. The Brewers will want the house for a guy who will hit the Free Agent market after the season and command top dollars. Leave that to your neighbors to the north in the Bronx to make that move. The other name mentioned as a possible back of the rotation starter is Francisco Liriano of Minnesota. Let me give you real world business guys a scenario before you consider him a good move. A kid comes out of college at 23, cannot find a job in this tough economy so he decides to sell cars. He comes in fired up out of the gate and crushes his numbers, he clearly has talent. Six years later, you can still see the talent; he cannot seem to push those cars out the door like he once did. That is what I think of with Liriano. He burst onto the scene in 2006, going 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA and 144 strikeouts. Now, the strikeouts are still there (70 strikeouts through 12 starts), but his ERA is over 5 and his record is 2-7. Plus, he reminds me too much of Daniel Cabrera. Remember that name, O’s fans? Sorry I am sure you would like to forget some of his atrocious outings.
Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reported a couple of weeks back that the Cubs are looking to move Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano. Dempster is their most attractive piece, even at 35 years old. He is spotting a 2.11 ERA through 12 games started this season. The Cubs are so desperately trying to ship out Soriano, rumor has it that they would be willing to pay 90% of his salary to the team who takes him.
If I am Dan Duquette, I am calling Theo Epstein and I am trying to bring the veteran Dempster along with Soriano to Baltimore. To me, the trade makes sense on so many levels for the O’s. First and foremost, the O’s lack a veteran, durable presence in their rotation. Forget about the fact that Dempster is currently on the 15-day DL with Right Lat tightness, he will be back right after the Break. Since he underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2003, Dempster has been a rock in both the Cubs bullpen and starting rotation. Thus far in 2012, Dempster has spotted a 2.11 ERA in 12 starts, compared to Matt Garza who is more expensive and has a 4.01 ERA. Plus, Dempster at 35 would be the oldest pitcher on the O’s rotation, and that is by no means a bad thing. Who better for the 26 year old of the rotation, Wei-Yin Chen and Jake Arietta to learn from than the described laid back Dempster? I mean come on, the guy told the Arizona media in 2007 if that if his career were to tumble, he planned on taking up ninja training. How cool is that?
As far as Soriano is concerned, even if you are a casual baseball fan, you probably know his career has been in a steady decline since the Yanks shipped him out for A-Rod back in 2004. But if the Cubs really would pay 90% of his salary, would it kill you to have him as your 4th Outfielder? He is a seven time All Star and two-time World Series Champ, it cannot hurt having a guy who has been in a winning atmosphere in your clubhouse.
For the sake of this article, I won’t dive in too deep to the O’s prospects they would look to ship out to acquire this package deal. I will leave it up to the Front Office to make those decisions. One thing would be evident: the O’s would not have to risk trading potential significant prospects for the future to acquire 35 and 36 year old veterans. However, they need to make some sort of moves if they want to continue this phrase I have heard thrown out this year called “Orioles Magic.”
I believe the next verse of the chorus of the song “Slippin” by DMX goes something like this: “Ay yo I’m slippin’ I’m fallin’ I gots to get up, Get me back on my feet so I can tear sh*t up!” If Dan Duquette does in fact share the same enjoyment from rap music as I do, he should listen to this song and get the O’s back on their feet by calling Epstein not at the trade deadline, but right now.