Thursday, January 10, 2008

Reconstruction in Camden Yards?

It hasn't been too long since Camden Yards was built, creating the modern standard for ballparks. It has however been a long time since the Orioles were competitive in the AL East, which is why there is a dire need for rebuilding inside the walls of Camden Yards. There has been talk recently of two separate deals involving prominent Baltimore Orioles. The first involves Canadian ace SP Erik Bedard to the Seattle Mariners for CF Adam Jones, C Jeff Clement, and 3B Matt Tuisasosopo, OR Bedard to the Mariners for Jones, and two of RHP Chris Tillman, SS Carlos Triunfel, and RHP George Sherrill.

If given the chance to get both Adam Jones and the 17 year-old SS Triunfel, the Orioles need to pull the trigger on this deal. Jones is a major league ready prospect with little service time, and a big bat- someone who the fans would come out to see. Triunfel on the other hand just played a full season between Hi and Low-A ball hitting a combined .296 which is tremendous for someone his age. He has yet to develop power, and is sure to lose speed as his body fills out, but he is exactly the type of player the Orioles should be targeting. Extremely high ceiling, and far away from the Majors. To get someone of Bedard's talent, they need a Major League ready player in return, which Jones is, but I think the key to this deal is someone like Triunfel who could kickstart a rebuilding of the Orioles minor league system at the lower levels. The Orioles will not be competitive throughout the rest of Bedard's contract, which has 2 years remaining, and they will likely be surpassed in the division by the Rays with or without Bedard, so they might as well commit to being competitive in the future instead of staying the below-average course they've been on.

If the deal involving Jones, Clement and Tuiasosopo is the one that gets the job done the Orioles will still have done well to receive talent like Jones and Clement, but it might not be the best offer out there. Tuiasosopo provides nothing but a fun name to say and is a marginal major league talent. Clement however has an impact bat, though it is a question as to whether he could remain at that Catcher position. Were he to be traded to the Orioles, he would most assuredly move to 1B because of the presence of Matt Wieters in the system. This would give the Orioles a future lineup with Markakis, Jones, Wieters and Clement, which isn't a bad thing to build around- though it does nothing for the future of their farm system.

The other rumored deal that involves an Oriole fan favorite is 2B Brian Roberts to the Cubs for SP Sean Marshall, SP Sean Gallagher and 2B/SS Ronny Cedeno. With the recent departure of Miguel Tejada, the Orioles do have a vacancy at SS, which Cedeno could fill, or he could slot into 2B to replace Roberts. Either way the O's are gaining a 24 year old who has struggled in his time in the Majors but posted good minor league numbers. I'm cautiously optimistic for Cedeno, especially if he can get out of Chicago. The two Seans are middle to back end of the rotation starters. I'd be higher on their prospects were they to stay in the National League, but if this trade were done in tandem with a Bedard trade I think it would be a good job by Andy Macphail to maintain a certain level of competitiveness while somewhat restocking the farm system. If the Bedard trade doesn't happen, it is still a defensible trade because they would be adding depth to their rotation, while taking a downgrade at second base, but at the same time saving themselves money as none of these players are even arbitration eligible. They would also keep all 3 players received under control for more years than Roberts is under control for.

I think it is imperative that the Orioles make these deals because they can get full value for Bedard because he is 2 years from free agency, and Roberts is really nothing more than a complementary piece, though he is a fan favorite (as well as an owner favorite). If MacPhail is able to complete both these deals for the return mentioned he will have done a good job of trading 2 players for 6-7 other players, and the impact talent received will all have less than 2 years of service time which is exactly what the Orioles need to begin the arduous process of rebuilding a broken franchise.

No comments: