Orioles Trade Rumors: 7 Most Valuable Commodities for Sale at the Deadline
The trade deadline is less than a week away and a storm of movement awaits as teams load up for a postseason run. Many divisions are tight and teams are looking for help as they move forward.
The Orioles have positioned themselves to be very quiet at the deadline. Most of the players thought to have trade value at the beginning of the year have failed, but the Orioles still have some pieces that are available and could be a big factor.
One thing to mention is that Luke Scott and J.J. Hardy are not available for trade. Hardy's extension was not to make him more valuable on the block and Scott's injury will prevent him from playing the rest of the season.
Here are the seven players that the Orioles could reasonably trade at the deadline from least to most valuable.
7. Derrek Lee
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Derrek Lee's value has plummeted since the start of the season. The former NL batting champion has succumbed to age and injury with a meager season in a hitter's heaven.
Lee has been known for solid defense in the past and still has some value there. He is also an alright hitter against left handed pitching, so a platoon with a left handed first baseman may be a good fit.
The value isn't great, but I think that Lee fits perfectly with the Atlanta Braves. He could allow Freddie Freeman a little rest and is familiar with the team because he was traded there last season. I just don't expect it before the deadline. He's much more likely to be dealt in August, if at all.
6. Michael Gonzalez
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Mike Gonzalez's season began pretty rough, but he has rebounded somewhat and could make an impact on a team looking for a left handed specialist.
Lefties are very hard to come by, so there is just inherent value in Gonzalez's handedness, but he could make a big contribution to a team looking to hamper left handed bats.
The Yankees have been said to be looking at Sean Burnett, but Gonzalez could enter the mix if the Nationals' price is too high. I would doubt that the Orioles deal with the Yankees, but nothing is impossible.
5. Kevin Gregg
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Kevin Gregg has been on and off this season, but does a great job shutting the door in save opportunities. He does, however, tend to get knocked around in non-save situations (see Gregg vs. Wells from Friday).
Gregg is under contract through next year with an option for 2013, so a team could potentially solve the back end for a while by picking up Gregg.
I would think that the Cardinals and Phillies would at least take a look at Gregg. The Phillies are especially interesting to look at because Lidge and Madson will both be free agents at the end of the season and Gregg's contract could give them some stability. That said, they may be satisfied with Antonio Bastardo.
4. Vladimir Guerrero
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Vladimir Guerrero was a terrific all-around player just a few years ago, but is on his last legs now in Baltimore. He has still managed to hit for an alright average, but the power is mostly gone and he can't hit the same ugly pitches that he was famous for hitting anymore.
Vlad pretty much eliminated 16 of 29 potential trade destinations with his legs. He can't defend anymore, so he is stuck in the AL. Most teams aren't looking for DH help, so that hurts him as well. The only thing Guerrero has going for him is that he is still an okay hitter. He won't tear the cover off of the ball, but he can still hit it.
The Yankees are the team that always seems to come up in association with Vlad. They have an opening at DH and could use his bat. A really desperate NL team may want him as a good pinch hitter, but I doubt it for the money he is making.
Vlad's injury hurts his chances of being traded, but he could be back Tuesday, so he may get a few games to draw some interest. He's much more likely to go in August, like Lee.
3. Mark Reynolds
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Mark Reynolds hasn't been perfect this year, but he has really stepped up lately and is definitely playing better than he did last year (only 18 hits from tying his 2010 number). His power has been extraordinary as usual and his walks are up with his strikeouts down.
Reynolds is under contract through next year with an option for 2013, so he could go to a power hungry team with plans on sticking with him for a while. He probably won't be moved, but he has had a very good year.
There are a few teams that I think Reynolds would be a fit with. None have really been linked to him yet, but I could see Atlanta and Cincinnati going after Reynolds. Chipper Jones and Scott Rolen are both injured and old. Both may be in their final years, so finding a guy that could finish the season and replace the future Hall of Famers might be pragmatic.
2. Koji Uehara
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Koji Uehara is quietly one of the best bullpen arms on the market and will be a great find for whichever team picks him up.
I see it as pretty much certain that Uehara gets traded. He is way too good to be in the Orioles bullpen and the contract is extremely friendly for a guy that could potentially close.
Uehara rarely allows walks or hits and strikes out more than a batter per inning. His health and age are a bit of a concern, but he has been healthy all year and is starting to get tested a little more as the season has progressed.
The thing that many people have overlooked is that Uehara's numbers are eerily similar to Mike Adams. In the exact same number of innings, Uehara has allowed the exact same number of hits and walked one less batter. He has also struck out 14 more batters than Adams. The number of earned runs is different, with Adams allowing just six compared to Uehara's nine, but they both still have sub-2 ERAs.
Uehara is under contract this year and likely the next. He has a vesting option that will almost definitely be reached.
1. Jeremy Guthrie
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I feel really bad for Jeremy Guthrie. He has consistently been very good for the Orioles, but is rewarded with miniscule run support, causing his record to shift heavily into the loss column. He really deserves better.
Guthrie struggles because he is slotted wrong and pitches in the toughest division in baseball. He is 25-45 in the last three years, despite 45 quality starts. He is pitching against aces and he is more of a three or four pitcher. I mean that entirely as a compliment to Guthrie.
Guthrie is talented. He is a good pitcher with a good assortment of pitches. He is not C.C. Sabathia or Jon Lester. He is more of a Bronson Arroyo or Kyle Lohse. Dependable and can eat innings over the course of a season.
A change of scenery would do wonders for Guthrie, especially if he switches leagues. According to Jon Paul Morosi, the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers have emerged and suitors for Guthrie. I think he would do wonders for the Cardinals. Dave Duncan could turn Guthrie into a winner.