At the beginning of the offseason, I pleaded with the Orioles to make some noise in order to further their rebuilding efforts. While the Orioles have yet to make any huge moves outside of trading Ramon Hernandez, their acquisition of Felix Pie today could be a major step in the right direction.
Emphasis on could.
Pie is a guy who seems to have all the talent in the world. He has hit for both average and power on the minor league level, while exhibiting a good amount of speed, and playing fine defense. Last season, Pie hit .287 with 10 homers and 55 RBI at AAA Iowa. Based on his skill set, Pie should be able to develop into a productive major league outfielder, right?
So far on the big league stage, Pie has disappointed by hitting a meager .223 in 260 major league at bats. Granted that's a small sample size, but keep in mind that the Cubs soured very quickly on Pie based on his limited time in the majors. For all of Pie's potential, there is a reason why Pie has failed so far as a big league player.
But even with his previous failures with the Cubs, this is a great move for the Orioles. Unlike the Cubs, the Orioles are nowhere close to competing in 2009 and need to continue to build towards the future. They can afford to give Pie a full season of playing time to see if he truly is a productive major leaguer or if he's just a toolsy AAAA player.
So consider this a low risk/high reward opportunity for the Orioles. To get Pie, the Orioles gave up nothing of true significance (Garret Olson, Henry Williamson) and in the process they might have picked up their future left fielder. Between Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, and Pie, the Orioles have the makings of a dynamic, young outfield for years to come...if Pie develops.
Not too shabby for GM Andy MacPhail, who has been far too quiet this offseason. However, this is exactly the kind of move that I think could really help the Orioles in the future.
Definitely a good risk.