On Thursday, July 30, the Orioles dealt away second-year closer George Sherrill to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two prospects. I like this move. Not that I dislike Sherrill. In fact, Sherrill is a great guy and was always nice to media. He also always took the blame if he blew a save. However, a contender with a deep farm system wanted him for their stretch run and the Orioles are still in a rebuilding mode. To me, this is the Erik Bedard trade gift that keeps on giving. Andy MacPhail has now turned Erik Bedard in to four young pitchers, a superstar centerfielder and a third baseman, possibly of the future.
I want to get into the topic of third baseman Josh Bell. Everything that I have read tells me the kid has it all together and that he will be a middle-of-the-lineup presence either in 2010 or 2011. That’s almost perfect because is appears Melvin Mora, who has been struggling this season, won’t have his option picked up and Ty Wigginton can play part of the year at third base next season while Bell learns the ropes.
Bell is a switch-hitter that, at least this season, has trouble hitting right-handed. I think he could be a very good left-handed hitter and help the Orioles down the road.
The other piece obtained in this trade was right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson. Johnson is the son of former Oriole pitcher now broadcaster Dave Johnson. On several occasions I spoke with Dave about his son and he told me that Steve is very smart with all the physical tools. Although pitching takes longer to develop than some of the hitters, Johnson projects as a middle reliever or back-of-the-rotation starter which wouldn’t be a bad career.
This move by MacPhail is clearly a move toward the future and knowing when to move on from the older players and keep infusing youth into a franchise that has been lethargic for over a decade. Trading Sherrill was nothing personal and definitely, at least in my opinion, will help the Orioles win in the future
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