Saturday, July 31, 2010

MacPhail says O's might be done dealing

On Thursday, the Orioles traded Miguel Tejada to the Padres for pitching prospect Wynn Pelzer. Most fans viewed the trade favorably, not only because it made sense to try to get something in return before Tejada's one-year deal expired, but because he's been mediocre this season.

Tejada hit .267/.308/.359 in Baltimore with seven homers. Primarily batting second, Tejada didn't strike out much (9.9 K%), but he basically didn't walk either (3.7 BB%) -- as it's been established, Tejada isn't a fan of taking many pitches. Also, playing third base for the first time in his career, Tejada showcased a strong arm and a decent amount of range -- and he made several solid plays charging the ball and whipping the ball to first on difficult attempts -- but his UZR for the O's was -4.6. According to FanGraphs, Tejada was the definition of a replacement level player, accumulating 0.0 WAR (which can't be easy to do) and a value of $0.2 million. Still, he filled in at third when the team didn't have a whole lot of options and allowed for Josh Bell to get a little more seasoning in the minors.

Now that Tejada is gone, the question is: Now what? Here what Andy MacPhail had to say recently in a Jeff Zrebiec article:
"We've had a lot of conversations. I have no idea where they are going or if anything will come from them. It's not like the phone is dead, but I wouldn't see anything that I characterize as likely at this point."
As expected, MacPhail would love the chance to move Ty Wigginton and Will Ohman, but he's not simply willing to give those players away just for nothing, especially when it comes to the possibility of trading Luke Scott and Jeremy Guthrie, who have much more value than Wigginton or Ohman. MacPhail:
"There is going to be plenty of criticism and rightfully so based on our record [if the O's are done trading], but that doesn't mean you should do something for the sake of doing something. That would fall into the category of being stupid."
I happen to agree with MacPhail, at least when it comes to Scott and Guthrie. Wigginton, on the other hand, who has played third base the last two games, is basically blocking Bell from playing everyday, which seems to be the opportunity that opened up with the Tejada trade. Wigginton and Ohman are having solid seasons, but let's not go overboard. Wigginton has been worth 0.5 WAR, with his combined -9.2 UZR at first, second, and third overshadowing many of his .256/.329/.452 line and 16 home runs at the plate. Ohman (3.30 ERA, 29 K, 18 BB) has also pitched pretty well, with his strikeouts up and walks slightly down. But, overall, he still walks too many batters and has pitched over his head a bit, suggesting that his ERA will go up before the season is over. He should be viewed as a decent lefty who can match up against other lefties in late-game situations, and not much more than that. And teams are likely viewing Wigginton as a platoon-type infield option.

Seeing what happened in the Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt trades, etc., it doesn't seem like teams are willing to just give away top prospects. MacPhail is correct in not wanting to just give away players to opposing teams. When it comes to Scott and Guthrie, that makes a lot more sense than protecting trade chips like Wigginton and Ohman. Wigginton's and Ohman's deals both expire after this season, and if they want to return to Baltimore, they'll likely want raises -- not exactly something that makes much sense for the O's to do. So if teams are willing to throw in a few decent prospects for those two, MacPhail should pull the trigger. Then again, that's easier said that done.

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