In case you didn't already know, it's July. Time does fly when you're having fun watching the Orioles play baseball, huh? For baseball, July means the trade market is about to heat up, with teams needing to decide now if they're buyers or sellers. The buyers are going to try to pick up some pieces to make the push through October (and some of them will do so incredibly foolishly), while the sellers are going to see what long-term pieces they can pick up for their veterans (and some of them will make the buyers look incredibly foolish).
For the Orioles, it's yet another summer sales blowout event and Andy MacPhail needs to sell off the existing inventory to make room for the new 2011 models. And you know what? He's good at this part of the game. I suppose most rebuilding teams are either good at making sell-off trades, or they're busy finding a GM who is good at making trades, and Andy MacPhail certainly fits that bill. No need to replace him until he tries to give 10 million dollars to Aramis Ramirez over the winter.
So let's have a preliminary look at who the O's have on the block, what their competition is, and what their customer base might look like:
Ty Wigginton - Miss Wiggy can "play" three infield positions and is coasting on his hot start, but his 116 OPS+ remains a healthy distance above his 104 career level (100 is average), he doesn't have a free agent compensation ranking, and he's owed less than $2MM for the rest of the season, so he should be pretty movable.
Rumored interested teams include the Yankees, Phillies, Rangers, Rockies, Angels, and Red Sox. They're all looking for infield depth, though with Utley, Morales, and Pedroia both on the DL, their respective teams are probably looking for at least a temporary starter. Wiggy's primary competition, in my mind, is Dan Uggla another right-handed bat with some pop, but Florida might not be in sell-mode, what with their insane owner and all.
Kevin Millwood - The Mentor would bring valuable mentor skills to a young staff experiencing their first play-off drive. How will these precocious young'uns deal with the added pressure of a pennant race without a big, quiet, balding gentleman to say "Good job, Rook" after a key strikeout to escape a bases loaded jam? Millwood, for your information, is presently a Type B player.
Millwood occupies the second tier of available pitching, below Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee, and along with such talents as Jake Westbrook, Ted Lilly, Ben Sheets, Livan Hernandez, and perhaps Fausto Carmona. Millwood's had a disasterous June, too, after a brilliant early campaign (which ironically saw him go completely winless), and continued suckitude is going to drag him - and the Orioles' return - into the mud. Teams who could use the help (and are no doubt fighting for the big prize of Cliff Lee) include the Rangers, Reds, Phillies, Tigers, Rays, Angels, Twins, Cardinals, and Mets.
Miguel Tejada - Miggi has shown his (alledged) age in the Baltimore heat. His power and on-base skills have erroded quite a bit, but he seems to have taken to third base relatively well. He's also presently a Type A free agent, which'll up the pricetag and potentially make him a tougher sell. On the other hand, Tejada has a pretty good reputation as an All-Star and MVP and is just a season removed from 199 hits.
Still, Miggi wasn't in much demand before the season started, and his stock can only have dropped, right? The Twins (Nick Punto), Angels (Brandon Wood), and Phillies (Polanco's hurt) are all in some need, but the Jays could move Jose Bautista, or some team could pick up Edwin Encarnacion or maybe even Mike Lowell and be arguably better off than with Tejada.
Jeremy Guthrie - one of our two best trade chips (in my humble opinion), Jeremy Guthrie loves bicycle-riding, Spanish food, being Mormon, and caddying for Nick Markakis during BP. Won't you give him a good home and a loving family?
Guthrie isn't a free agent until after 2012, and he's actually been better than Mr. Mentor, so he should really be the most sought-after of the second-tier options (unless, of course, the price becomes prohibitive), and he could be the target of a team like the Padres who will want the help long-term in favor of an expensive half-year rental for their surprising stretch run.
Luke Scott - our other good trade chip (if he can come back quickly), Mr. Streaky's overall numbers are the best of his career, excepting his first call-up for Houston in 2006. The Braves are the team most allegedly interested, though a team like the Nats or the Mariners could potentially go after him, as he won't be a free agent for a while yet. Scott's primary competition on the market is David DeJesus, the Royals very good outfielder.
Corey Patterson - Corey may or may not have reignited his career. He was sitting at home watching cartoons and eating cereal in his PJs until the Orioles called him up in the Spring, and he's put up his best wOBA since 2003 while filling in for Felix Pie. Any team looking for outfield depth and/or pinch-running ability could do a whole worse. I'm just spitballing here, but the Padres, Braves, and Giants might all be good fits here.
Will Ohman - last year, Andy MacPhail turned an overachieving late-game lefty reliever into two pretty good prospects. Will Ohman isn't doing quite the same job Georgie did last year, but good relief help is basically always sought as the playoff teams look to shore up the 'pen for the October games. Again, just spit-balling here, but maybe the Red Sox, Angels, Yankees, Phillies, or Reds make sense?
Koji Uehara - Koji's been great (and he reminds of the halcyon days of Brady Anderson...ah...), but only when he's been out on the mound, and that's been almost never. I bet he'd do great in a dome, though, or maybe for some team that plays in the Great White North.
Julio Lugo - if Andy MacPhail can move Lugo for any price I will personally write him a hand-written note apologizing for ever criticizing his abilities as a general manager. I may or may not also fill the envelope with hard candies. He seems like he would like hard candies.