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After the trading deadline, it seems as though everyone and their mother is quick to put out a list of winners and losers that provide instant analysis into which teams hit it big and which teams blew it. Most of these columns are somewhat generic, but this piece about the Orioles caught my eye.
Added: Cla Meredith, Josh Bell, Steve Johnson
Traded: Oscar Salazar, George Sherrill
Orioles president Andy MacPhail had vowed that his team would not be a farm system for anyone else, but they may not have done enough at this deadline to help themselves for the future. Sherrill brought back a decent pair, third baseman Josh Bell and pitcher Steve Johnson, both of whom should start learning the Oriole Way at Double-A. But with a handful of other players who could have been traded to accelerate their building program that has begun already with players like Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters and Adam Jones, it's a little surprising that they only made one trade to strengthen their farm system.
I'm guessing by "other players" Keith is referring to Aubrey Huff, Melvin Mora, and Danys Baez; all of whom are free agents at the end of the season. None of these guys have a future with the club so in theory it would have made sense for the Orioles to make a move.
However, Keith fails to mention that the market for both Huff and Mora failed to develop. Both guys are having poor seasons and became backup choices at best for contending teams. It's impossible to move guys if there is no market for them.
In addition, a few weeks back it looked like the Orioles could get a nice return on Baez, who was having a solid bounce back season. But over the last two months, Baez has struggled and as a result, his value took a big hit.
I don't agree with Keith's assessment that the Orioles were trade deadline losers. The market for these three players was not there, at least right now anyway.
If anything, the Orioles should have traded Huff and Mora after last season when both guys were coming off huge seasons and entering the final year of their contract.That would have maximized both players' value and strengthened the Orioles farm system.
Keith is surprised that the Orioles only made one deal at the deadline, but the reality behind it is clear: The market simply was not there for these players. Maybe the Orioles could get something for Huff, Mora, or Baez in August if any of them are able to produce over the next few weeks. The opportunity might be there and maybe the market might finally develop.