Orioles trade thoughts

 

I haven’t posted about baseball much, but I wanted to get my quick two cents in on the recent trades the Baltimore Orioles have made. As a fan of the team, I’ve been a bit frustrated with the moves they made during the past off-seasons. The most recent gaffe being signing Garrett Atkins, which of course, didn’t end up well. This off-season, the Orioles had glaring needs a few positions and three of the most prominent ones were the need of a power hitter, a corner infielder and a shortstop. Those were all filled in the last couple of days but just how effective are they? Here’s what I have to stay.

Things started a couple days ago when the O’s sent David Hernandez and Kam Mickilio to the Diamondbacks in exchange for slugging third baseman Mark Reynolds. Reynolds is coming off a rough season with a batting line of .198/.320/.433 and he struck out 211 times. However, the year before he had a monstrous year with a line of .260/.349/.543 and 44 home runs. It should be noted that he did hit 32 homers last year and increased his walk rate as well.

Reynolds definitely hit a bit over his head in 2009 but I still see him as a great power hitter and that’s something the O’s need badly right now. He’s also 27 right now and I think his 44 home runs will remain his career high but Chase Field in Arizona is a very friendly hitter ballpark, especially for power hitters but so is Camden Yards. I don’t think Reynolds will be hitting 40+ homers for the Orioles but the number of doubles and triples will likely increase as well as his RBI’s and that will work out very well for Baltimore.

As for who we sent back, David Hernandez had some promise as a starter but it didn’t work out so he was moved to the bullpen where he was kind of successful. He can throw hard but his control is still very poor and because of that, I don’t see him being more than just a decent reliever. Kam Mickilio’s control was almost as bad as Hernandez’ and he was planned to be the future closer for the team but that didn’t work out either. Plus, the emergence of Koji Uehara as the team’s closer made him expandable. The Orioles aren’t going to be missing out on much unless Hernandez or Mickilio turn into great relievers right off the bat for Arizona. Reynolds’ strike out totals concern me but moving relievers for a position player that can hit well is definitely a favorable move for us now. It also gives Josh Bell more time to develop in the minors since he clearly wasn’t ready last year.

The other trade that was made was sending relievers Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobsen to the Minnesota Twins for shortstop JJ Hardy and utility player Brendan Harris. I like this deal a lot more because shorstop was a huge need for the O’s last year. Cesar Izturis and his -0.3 WAR was starting nearly everyday for us and despite how good of a fielder he is, he can’t hit and that puts a huge hit on his value. Hardy has always been a great defensive short stop and he can actually hit. Granted, he had a rough season in 2009 (.226/.302/.357) but he followed it with a solid 2010 (.268/.320/.394) and will provide a big upgrade for this team at SS both offensively and defensively. I see him putting up numbers similar to last year which would make him about a 2.5 WAR player, which is good for us.

The only thing I don’t like about the trade is inheriting Brendan Harris’ $2 mil salary but that was thrown into to save the Twins money and possibly even things out. If you’re wondering about Harris, there isn’t much to him other than a good season earned him a $3.75 mil contract. He’s a utility infielder at the very most. Regardless, I’m still in favor of the trade since I believe that relievers are easy to come by and getting a solid position player like Hardy in return makes Baltimore the winners of this deal.

In other news, Koji Uehara was re-signed and will likely be the closer again this season. I’m a fan of Koji after how good he was at the closer role last season so I’m in favor of this move. My only wonder is why we didn’t offer him arbitration to possibly save us money? Either way, great to have him back.

Do all three moves make the Orioles contenders? No. Do they make them a better team for next year? Absolutely. They are both short-term solutions for the Orioles that should hopefully not make us the “Punching Bag of the AL” anymore. I do hope that we have some kind of plan to lock up Hardy for a couple years to help Manny Machado bide some time in the minors.

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