O’s Aren’t Looking To Shed Payroll

The Orioles may be 30 games under .500, but they’re not going to make deals for the sake of making deals. President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail told MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli that the club is open to making trades this summer and that’s a good thing, since opposing general managers regularly call to ask about his players.

"You can imagine the guys that are popular," MacPhail said. "Our young pitching is popular, but that's part of the cornerstone of what we are trying to do."

Jeremy Guthrie, who has a sub-4.00 ERA and won’t become a free agent until after the 2012 season, could be one of the appealing arms MacPhail is referring to. Some of Guthrie’s teammates – Ty Wigginton, Miguel Tejada, Kevin Millwood, Cesar Izturis, Will Ohman and Luke Scott – could be easier to obtain. But that doesn’t mean they’re going anywhere.

"We wouldn't [trade] just for the sake of moving payroll," MacPhail said.

If the Orioles determine that they can get something back for Millwood, he is “open" to the idea of switching teams, though he will not demand a trade. Last summer the O's traded Aubrey Huff, Gregg Zaun and George Sherrill away.


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16 Comments on "O’s Aren’t Looking To Shed Payroll"


bjsguess
5 years 1 month ago

One can only hope that they are kidding.

Piccamo
5 years 1 month ago

I would assume that part of this is posturing so that they don’t seem like they have to move anybody. The other part is that there aren’t a lot of good position players in the high minors for the Orioles and so trading every veteran simply leaves holes in big league team.

ReverendBlack
5 years 1 month ago

They don’t have to. It’s just that everyone knows they should and that they want to. They have no leverage at all and no prospect of creating any.

niched
5 years 1 month ago

Of course they have leverage if any of their players are desirable to other teams. It’s not like they have someone as desirable as Erik Bedard was to other teams, but if someone offers a C rated prospect for Jeremy Guthrie or Kevin Millwood, why should the O’s do a deal? The Orioles already have plenty of C rated prospects, and they don’t need to shed payroll. The O’s are a poor team on the field, but they are not poor financially. If they trade Miguel Tejada for junk, what good would it do them? They’d just have more junk, and they’d have to go out and find and pay another third baseman to fill in until the end of the season.

ReverendBlack
5 years 1 month ago

Not “needing” to trade their mediocre pricey players does not give them any leverage. They don’t have any players teams will scramble for.

They are the ones who need to get younger and better. A 3-10M mediocre regular is worse than a league minimum mediocre prospect when you are the awful Orioles in the awesome AL East. They are the ones who need to make changes.

The production of Guthrie Millwood et al is absolutely useless; the most it can do is bump them down in the draft order next year. They will not even return draft picks when they’re done. It’s wasted money and counterproductive production.

niched
5 years 1 month ago

Millwood could return a draft pick. That’s one reason why they might won’t trade him. The other reason is because he is a good mentor to younger players and because he is pitching well. Even if he is mediocre (he’s actually been very good until the past few weeks), you don’t trade him for mediocrity just for the sake of it. The Orioles would trade him, but only if the player he brings back fills some need and has some ceiling.

Guthrie is under control through 2012, he’s fairly young, and he has been quite good this year. You don’t trade a good pitcher under control for a couple more years just to bring in some younger, cheaper bodies, unless either a) you’re desperate to save money or b) you don’t know what you’re doing.

Last year the Orioles traded George Sherrill, a reliever, for a good prospect, Josh Bell. And you’re suggesting the Orioles trade decent veterans for just anybody, so long as they are young and cheap? The O’s already have a bunch of cheap anybodys; so does every other team. The Orioles trade for decent prospects, like they did with Sherrill last year, or they don’t trade at all. It makes no sense to do otherwise.

ReverendBlack
5 years 1 month ago

he is a good mentor to younger players and because he is pitching well.

If he’s not going to be traded, pitching well hurts the O’s. For their sake I hope you’re right that he returns a pick, because that’s pretty much the only good thing that could come of it. They have plenty of coaches to mentor.

you don’t trade him for mediocrity just for the sake of it.

Without a compensatory pick, yep, you do. Or you should, anyhow. What can be won by keeping him? Nothing. What can be lost by keeping him? Stephen Strasburgs and Bryce Harpers. What can be won by ditching him? A prospect with potential, and money saved. What can be lost by ditching him? Err, zip.

Guthrie is under control through 2012, he’s fairly young, and he has been quite good this year. You don’t trade a good pitcher under control for a couple more years just to bring in some younger, cheaper bodies, unless either a) you’re desperate to save money or b) you don’t know what you’re doing.

I agree with you here. Guthrie’s worth keeping unless something promising is offered.

Last year the Orioles traded George Sherrill, a reliever, for a good prospect, Josh Bell. And you’re suggesting the Orioles trade decent veterans for just anybody, so long as they are young and cheap?

You ought to know very well I didn’t suggest this. I was specific. I said: “A 3-10M mediocre regular is worse than a league minimum mediocre prospect when you are the awful Orioles in the awesome AL East.”

So no, you don’t trade a costly anybody for a cheap anybody; no one says you should. What I’ve said is you don’t hold on to costly anybodies if prospects are offered for them, even if those prospects are not blue chippers.

This strategy isn’t advisable for every team, maybe that’s what you’re coming up against. But the Orioles are deep in the sewer of the basement of the best division in baseball. The FOURTH best team in the division, Toronto, is plenty good and on track to get much better soon – thanks to smarter management. The third second and first best teams are in the top five in all of baseball, if they aren’t the top three themselves.

Baltimore has a ton of work ahead and clinging to players whose mediocrity is established — they are career mediocre players — WHILE paying millions more for them than you would prospects with higher ceilings, however rough around the edges they may be … it’s just not how you get things done. It’s a recipe for perpetual 5th-3rd place cycles.

5 years 1 month ago

The O’s are paying essentially $30 million dollars less for roster players than they could, so money is not an issue in any way shape or form. Check Cot’s Baseball Contracts if you don’t believe me. As far as trading players goes… Guthrie is definitely a keeper unless he garners a very good return. According to Elias Rankings (on this site) Luke Scott is less than 3 points away from being a type B, Tejada is a type A, and Millwood is a type B. All of those could potentially be draft picks. Why trade for average prospects when you could get draft picks for them at the end of the year? That’s the argument.

ReverendBlack
5 years 1 month ago

Edit: In case by argument you mean your argument i.e. your position, I agree with it and have already said so.

5 years 1 month ago

However, those are exactly the players that would be traded. The only players that would be traded that won’t give compensatory picks are Wigginton, Izturis, and Ohman. I can’t see there being any real interest in Izturis, and even if there was it wouldn’t bring any decent return. Ohman could bring something back, but he seems to be steadying a weak bullpen at the moment. Wigginton is costing us a whole $3.5 Million this year and has been contributing fairly well with his bat thus far so why trade him?

I’m not trying to argue or disagree so much as simply suggest that it’s much more complicated than it seems. You know?

ReverendBlack
5 years 1 month ago

You trying to make my head explode? =P I just explained why anyone making 3-10m who isn’t likely to return a pick should be traded for a prospect. Their production is exclusively harmful to the team. It is in Baltimore’s best interests to lose as many games as possible from here on out.

We agree entirely on the issue of compensation. If money isn’t a concern – and it isn’t – keep them. Anyone else, I’ll quote myself (my post may have been TL;DR, maybe that’s why you missed it):

Clinging to players whose mediocrity is established — they are career mediocre players — WHILE paying millions more for them than you would prospects who have higher ceilings (however rough around the edges they may be) … [is] just not how you get things done. It’s a recipe for perpetual 5th-3rd place cycles.

5 years 1 month ago

That may be the case, I just cant defend tanking. Wigginton may be a mediocre player, and having scott moore playing second for the balance of the season wouldn’t be the worst, it still feels like I’d rather have the team play with some dignity. If we get Anthony Rendon, then that’d be great. If we don’t then it’s not the end of the world. That’s all.

ReverendBlack
5 years 1 month ago

I can understand that POV and frankly I have respect for anyone loyal fans of Baltimore; they’re hard to come by for good reason.

But really – winning games at this point IS the difference between Strasburgs & Harpers and more generic 1st rounders. Even without those two outlier talents, draft order is a big deal.

No player should go out and play to lose. But management has the ability to steer toward the future by sacrificing the present. And the more they do, the brighter the future can be.

Smileybush
5 years 1 month ago

That is the way MacFail seems to run his teams, look at his Cubs teams . . .

ugen64
5 years 1 month ago

You’re conveniently forgetting that MacPhail has shown he’s willing to make these trades – mediocre players for not much more than salary relief. He traded away Chad Bradford (who had a 2.45 ERA in 40.1 IP and was only owed a few million dollars) for cash. He traded Aubrey Huff for a C+ prospect. He traded away Gregg Zaun for a 25 year old 1B in AAA. He traded away Steve Trachsel (in fairness, not the hardest decision to make) for Scott Moore, who was at the time a good prospect. Yes, there are examples of players he hasn’t traded away – Danys Baez last year for example – but part of that was out of necessity. Having already gotten rid of Jamie Walker, Bradford, and Sherrill, ff we’d traded away Baez and then Jim Johnson gets injured or something, we’d have been reduced to using Mark Hendrickson as our closer – that’s not how you instill confidence in our long-term plan.

I think you guys are somewhat missing the point of the article. The Orioles have been reducing payroll over the past few years, presumably to make room for a big free agent push in the next couple of years. That means that unlike, say, the Marlins or Padres, we won’t be forced into making trades solely for salary relief. That’s not to say we won’t make those trades – the Bradford trade was a prime example – but that we won’t be forced into making them. Everyone takes it for granted that guys like Cantu and Uggla are perpetually on the hotseat – it’s not true that we will have to trade guys like Guthrie or Scott. If we don’t get a good offer, and if they still fit in the long-term plan, we can keep them without undue payroll concerns.

ReverendBlack
5 years 1 month ago

Having already gotten rid of Jamie Walker, Bradford, and Sherrill, ff we’d traded away Baez and then Jim Johnson gets injured or something, we’d have been reduced to using Mark Hendrickson as our closer – that’s not how you instill confidence in our long-term plan.

Executing a good long-term plan is not how to instill confidence in a long-term plan? You’re probably right, actually, since a lot of people don’t know much. But I think you’re overestimating any uproar there would have been. Again, though, when you’re Baltimore in these situations, winning games is bad.

I know it was a longish convo to read, but no one in it disagrees that controlled, productive players and players who are likely to net draft compensation should be kept in the absence of compelling offers.