Baltimore Orioles: 4 Players on the Block Who Can Keep Season Going

Nolan Ahern@@NolanAhernContributor IIIMay 15, 2012

Baltimore Orioles: 4 Players on the Block Who Can Keep Season Going

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    The Baltimore Orioles are tied for first place in the AL East, but they will need to entertain trade offers if they want to keep this improbable run going.

    Many players have stepped up and made huge contributions that have sparked this successful start, but there are still holes to fill before they can think about making a real run at the playoffs.

    Starting pitching is the main concern, and third baseman Mark Reynolds has been a disappointment to say the least.

    With those needs in mind, here are four players on the trade block who could help the Orioles stay in the hunt all season long.

Jake Peavy

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    Jake Peavy has the potential to be one of the elite starters in baseball, something he proved when he won the NL Cy Young award in 2007 with the Padres.

    Peavy has struggled with injuries and consistency since that 19-win season, however, and he is trying to right the ship with an excellent start to the 2012 season.

    In seven starts, Peavy has thrown 52.1 innings and recorded an ERA of 1.89. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is a gaudy 6.29, and he has already thrown two complete games.

    The O’s have one of the league’s best bullpens, but Buck Showalter would love to have a starter that could go deep into games and keep his relievers fresh. If Peavy stays healthy and keeps up this level of control, he could be that guy.

Erik Bedard

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    Has Erik Bedard had some issues with injuries? Yes. But the idea that he is constantly getting hurt is somewhat of a misconception.

    Since his first full year with the O’s in 2004, the left-handed starter has made 24 starts in five of his eight seasons. After missing the entire 2010 season, he came back to make 24 starts in 2011, going 5-9 with a 3.62 ERA for the Mariners and Red Sox.

    This year, Bedard has made seven starts and posted a 2.57 ERA. This is somewhat bad timing since he was pulled from his last start after only one scoreless inning with back issues, but he is expected to pitch again on Wednesday.

    The Orioles could use an effective left-handed starter to join Wei-Yin Chen in the rotation, especially with Brian Matusz struggling to find his rhythm.

    Bedard is only making $4.5 million in Pittsburgh, and his contract expires after this season. He will not eat a ton of innings, but he has experience pitching in Camden Yards and can provide quality starts. He is a great fit for the Orioles. 

Mark Trumbo

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    Mark Reynolds has not been getting the job done at third base, and Mark Trumbo would be a great replacement at a position of need.

    Trumbo finished second in last year’s Rookie of the Year voting, and he is off to an even better start in 2012. He is hitting .321/.394/.619 through 26 games, and has added six homers and 16 RBI.

    Showalter will also love his versatility—he can play third, first and both of the corner outfield positions, as well as DH. Though he strikes out a fair amount (120 last year), Trumbo is only 26 and still has room to improve.

    Considering Reynolds’s struggles and the trade that sent Josh Bell to the D-Backs, Trumbo could be the O’s answer at third base for several years to come.

Jeff Niemann

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    Niemann has been one of the more consistent pitchers in the AL East over the past few years.

    He has recorded at least 23 starts in each of his three full seasons in the majors, and his ERA has slightly fluctuated around the 4.00 mark.

    Though he just broke his fibula and will be out for 4-6 weeks, the Rays can expect him to come back and provide the same consistency he has each of the past three years.

    Niemann averages just around six innings per start for his career, and this type of consistency and reliability is something that the O’s young pitching staff needs. Niemann also comes at a decent price of $2.75 million, and his contract expires after this season.

    This kind of low-risk move would still bolster the rotation and give the O’s a better chance as the season progresses.