27 July 2015

Arrivals And Departures (7/27/2015): The Sea Was Calm

Coming out of the All Star break, the Orioles found themselves in no man's land. The club's first half performance was at times exceptional and at other times miserable; and it all left them smack dab in the middle of the AL East and Wild Card hunts. However, by being smack dab I mean that the prize was in sight, but they were accompanied by several other clubs with similar aspirations, talent, and expectations. The hope, at the time, was that the club would become famished or thirsty or hungry and start winning the majority of their games as the non-waiver trade deadline approached

What transpired was more shuffling and the club finds themselves just about where they were two weeks prior. They are certainly not out of the race, but the closer you get to that finish line the less optimistic one is about being stuck in the pack. You want to see some acceleration and space. The Orioles have not provided that. In fact, the word is slowing growing that the Orioles will be sellers, but their players have not been widely reported as being a part of active talks. As such, this column will try to tease out that last vestige of hope with thoughts on a potential deal.

The challenge facing the club is how exactly can they improve upon this season and, perhaps, next season with one of the worst farm systems in baseball and next to no excess room to take on any payroll? One target mentioned is Justin Upton (and for the purpose of this exercise let us forget his oblique issue). Upton has almost 5 MM left with his contact and he is probably viewed as a 1 win increase player for competitive clubs (which is worth about 15 MM, twice market rate). A one to one deal would be something akin to Upton for Hunter Harvey, assuming that he is considered a 50th-75th ranked prospect with his injury. A one for two deal could conceivably be Upton for Mike Wright and maybe Chance Sisco. The Orioles should try to slide Bud Norris into this deal simply to get rid of the salary.

For the Orioles, they might want to try to expand this deal to pay itself forward. This might include trying to find a way to improve outfield corner depth. With that in mind, the focus would be on someone like Wil Myers. Injuries and poor performances have sullied the shine he once held. However, not all hope is lost. I would still peg him with a 15 MM value (equivalent to a 50-75 overall ranked hitter). Below is a rough idea for a deal:
Justin Upton, RF +10 MM
Wil Myers, LF +15 MM
Kevin Gausman, SP +25 MM
Chance Sisco, C +5 MM
Bud Norris, P -3 MM
David Lough, OF ~
Sisco's inclusion permits the addition of Norris as a cost offset. Plus, it also gives the Padres more catching depth. Lough provides them with another centerfield option as well as being a guy who just might be useful enough to them next year. San Diego would probably prefer a SS or a more solid CF upper minors contributor, but the Orioles do not have that. Other teams might.

Finally, we can do a silly, convoluted deal.
Upton and Myers, +25 MM
James Shields, -25 MM
Clint Barmes, SS ~
15 MM
Gausman, Sisco, Norris, and Lough +27 MM
J.J. Hardy, -10 MM
This gives both clubs a couple things they need. It gives the Padres a cheap SP, a full fledged MLB SS, a good catching prospect, a flyer on a centerfielder, and some salary relief with Shields gone. For the Orioles, it improves their play this year with Upton in right field. Myers may be ready to return to action in late August and provide some help in left or as a designated hitter. He would also be cost controlled for the Orioles for the next several years. Clint Barmes provides some shortstop filler to cheaply spell Hardy who has disappointed. The rest of the year will see whether Barmes or Flaherty is worse there and open up discussion this offseason whether to shift Machado over. Finally, Shields provides back to mid rotation pitching for the next three years at the tune of 3/24 if you count the money from the Padres and the Hardy sunk costs as discounting Shields' pay. Needless to say, eight man trades with money are rare deals and are often things of fantasy.

In fact, one might even say consideration of the Orioles as a buyer at this date is also a fantasy.

40 man roster


Unknown said...

I thought we had confirmed that Matusz has too much big-league service time to be eligible for a fourth option year.

Jon Shepherd said...

No, it is not a service time issue. Mid to late August, he will have five years.

The issue is whether or not he had a fourth option. Whether I am not accounting for his first option somewhere or if he never had a fourth option. It would seem with how option happy the club is, that it is highly unlikely that he has any left.

Mike said...

The more I see these potential deals that are being suggested, the more they make me feel nauseous. They Orioles have very little in their farm system and it looks like these trades will pretty much empty them out in exchange for players that are worth maybe a win or two.

Jon Shepherd said...

That is the rub. Do you cash in on guys with high ceilings and accept players with a firm floor and a shallow ceiling? Plus, that cashing in is focusing on this year and maybe next year.

I would not. I would be looking to try to sell at least the pieces that appear unimportant. I would also say that this decision would be based on an overhaul of the pitching developmental program, which I have lost faith in (well, I never had faith in Rick Peterson).

Unknown said...

Matusz does not have a fourth option remaining because a fourth option year can only be used during a player's first five seasons in full-season baseball. So Matusz could have had a fourth option year in 2013 (his fifth season in full-season baseball) but not in 2014 (his sixth) or later.

Jon Shepherd said...

Interesting...I did not know 4th options had additional rules on them than 1st 2nd and 3rd options which are based solely on service time.

Jon Shepherd said...

I found the language: For the purpose of determining eligibility for a 4th minor league option, a player accrues a "full season" when he spends at least 90 days on the Active List of an MLB and/or minor league club or clubs in a given season, or (in seasons prior to 2012) spends at least 60 days but less than 90 days on the Active List of an MLB and/or minor league club or clubs followed by a Disabled List assignment where the combined time spent on the Active List and Disabled List equals at least 90 days or (beginning with the 2012 season) spends at least 30 days but less than 90 days on the Active List of an MLB and/or minor league club or clubs followed by a Disabled List assignment where the combined time spent on the Active List and Disabled List equals at least 90 days.