The Orioles Could Look To a Familiar Face To Fix Their Pitching Woes:
June 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
The Orioles remain well in contention for either the AL East division title or one of the two Wild Card spots, and need to seriously consider themselves buyers during this trading period. The problem remains of course that they can't afford to make a big splash in terms of the number/quality of prospects they trade away. This means Baltimore needs to remain creative in their pursuit of players. While adding a DH or 3B bat remains a priority for the Orioles, the struggles by their rotation (or at least 3/5's of it) these past few weeks has made starting pitching a priority. Unfortunately trying to acquire a guy like Matt Garza or Brandon McCarthy will likely cost the Orioles too much in prospects for it to make sense. This leaves guys like Ryan Dempster, Wandy Rodriguez, and Joe Saunders as some of the top targets. While those wouldn't be bad options, I think the Orioles could look to a former Oriole, Erik Bedard to provide them with a boost.
Now the initial reaction (outside of humor of bringing Bedard back, after trading him away led to the Orioles star Adam Jones) would probably question the likelihood of it happening, considering the Pirates are competing for their own playoff spot. . While it is true that the Pirates are competing and contending teams don't usually trade away one of their starting pitchers, but this could be an exception. Pittsburgh could very well contend for a playoff spot in the weakened NL Central, but their eye has to very much be on the future. They have a number of major league ready arms in the upper minors, not to mention a couple uber-prospects who could be ready within the next year. So not only is Erik Bedard, not likely in their longterm plans, but they should be more than capable of replacing him this year. The Pirates have the pitching to go to the playoffs with or without Bedard, but they simply don't have the hitting. For Pittsburgh they could look at Bedard as a moderate trade chip, and focus on getting a return of someone who can help offensively this year, while adding a decent prospect or two.
Who to offer:
1B/3B Mark Reynolds- Reynolds bad has starting coming alive these last few weeks, but the Orioles should be willing to part with him if he can help them land a starting pitcher. With the return of Brian Roberts and the hopeful returns of Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold some time next month, the Orioles offense can handle the loss of Reynolds' production. Reynolds can take over 1B duties most days for the Pirates, and either he or Casey McGhee (who will play some first as well) can play 3B, when the Pirates want to sit Pedro Alvarez against tough lefties. Baltimore can also throw in his 500K buyout for next season, making it less of a financial burden. And if money is a sticking point they could offer to split the difference in remaining contracts with Pittsburgh.
Ryan Berry RP (High-A)- Berry isn't a spectacular pitching prospect, but he's a solid middle relief/late inning guy. He gives Pittsburgh some potential future value for Bedard after Reynolds leaves.
Ronnie Welty OF (Double-A)- Welty isn't considered a major prospect, but he's got a chance to be a cheap bench bat in a year or two. He's more or less a throw in here.
Is it enough?:
Well the Pirates would get a high risk/high reward bat for basically free the rest of the season for free, even if Reynolds doesn't see a major jump in his numbers, his bat will be an upgrade for Pittsburgh. In addition, they get a decent bullpen prospect, who could be in the mix for them in a year, and a throw-in young OF. It's not a lot, but it is better than nothing, which is the return they'd get if they don't move him.
For the Orioles it is a creative way to acquire a starting pitcher that doesn't either cost the team major prospects or a major financial commitment. While Reynolds bad will be missed some, adding a new starter takes precedence. Reynolds was gone after this year anyways, so its not as if it's a major loss. And just like for the Pirates, how they need to improve their offense to contend deep into the season, the Orioles need to improve their rotation.