The George Sherrill Deal Helps Baltimore Orioles in More Ways Than One

Lawrence BarrecaAnalyst IJuly 31, 2009

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Kam Mickolio #31 of the Baltimore Orioles poses during photo day at the Orioles spring training complex on February 23, 2009 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

“Andy MacPhail, president of baseball operations, said he had "mixed emotions" in announcing today's trade. He hates to lose George Sherrill, a valued member of the organization who's been solid on and off the field, but "there comes a time when you have to try to address some needs going down the road and try to get that group of talent together for a long time, and we think that's what this trade represents."

Above is an excerpt taken from’s “School of Roch”, as Roch Kubatko interviewed Baltimore Orioles’ President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail.

MacPhail had much to say on the George Sherrill-to-the-Dodgers deal, including praise for newly-acquired prospects Steve Johnson and Josh Bell, who will take over as the team’s new closer, and how he was able to grab such a haul from the Dodgers for a “lefty specialist” (as many contending teams viewed him). 

What the man who has turned a Baltimore franchise around over the past two seasons left out were the key details. 

This deal aids the Birds of Charm City in more ways than one.

Looking at the bargain the O’s received in this trade, we see Josh Bell, a 22-year-old third baseman with the ability to switch-hit and bat for power.  With the Orioles’ current drought of third base prospects in the system, adding a talented young prospect to the mix is always a welcome sign.

Steve Johnson, son of former Oriole Dave Johnson, is one who MacPhail describes as “somewhat of an under-the-radar starter for the Dodgers who continues to get better."

At 6’1", Johnson projects as a future back-end-of-the-rotation starter/bullpen reliever, and with the way he has progressed this season (9-5, 3.61 ERA, 117 Ks), his father could see him in Camden Yards some time in 2010.

Now sure, the two players we received are all fine-and-dandy, but now we take a look at the big picture.

This deal allows the O’s to set up for the future now more than ever. 

With Bell in the organization, the search for a third baseman has now been put on hold, as starter Melvin Mora is as good as gone after the 2009 season.  His club option is not likely to be picked up with Wigginton on the roster, paving the way for the birth of a younger, more talented infield.

With Bell’s arrival paved for either late 2010 or early 2011, many fans should expect to see “pop” from both corners of the diamond, with first baseman Brandon Snyder aiming for an early ‘10 callup. 

It’s going to be fun in Baltimore.

But now it only gets better.

Looking at the bullpen, it is, indeed, sad to see the Birds lose a quality southpaw in the late innings; however, this allows the squad to bring someone else back from the minors.  This man accompanied Sherrill from Seattle.

His name is Kam Mickolio.

The young reliever was perfect in his short stint in the bigs, as no runner reached first base with him on the rubber.

After the O’s dealt utility-man Oscar Salazar to the San Diego Padres for reliever Cla Meredith, Mickolio’s roster spot was taken up, and he was sent back down to Triple-A Norfolk where he originally began.

Now it appears as though he’s coming back. 

This time, though, forget being a middle reliever.

With Sherrill gone, the team needs a new closer, and former setup man Jim Johnson is the likely candidate to fill the ninth inning void.

This opens a spot in the eighth inning.

Who else but a perfect reliever to take his place?

Looking back on this deal, it appears to be another genius move by Andy MacPhail. 

The Erik Bedard trade is just a gift that keeps on giving, and AM (as we O’s fans call him) has done everything in his power to improve the best farm system in baseball.

With the additions of Bell and Johnson, this system just got even better.

Now I’m just wondering if I’ll ever wake up from this dream, where the O’s appear to be heading for a bright new horizon.

This sure beats the old days of Palmeiro and Sosa, I’ll tell you that much.