The Orioles do not need to make any bullpen changes to finish the year... We are still in the hunt for a wildcard position and messing with our closer is the last thing we need to do. Johnson has proved to us why he's an elite closer in the league, so I say we ride him out.. at least for the rest of 2013..
As we have seen in the past couple of years, big market teams are buying, buying, and buying. Miami tried and failed, Toronto tried and failed, and the Angels are in that category as well. Along with other buyers such as the Dodgers(which I think would be a good fit for Johnson), the Red Sox(although we won’t trade in division), and even the Cardinals could be in the hunt for more off-season bullpen additions(can’t hurt, right?), I think the answer is extremely simple.. There is no point in having a day-in and day-out "closer" with our bullpen. With Tommy Hunter’s power arm, Darren O’Day’s finesse, and a plethora of lefties, I strongly believe that the O’s need to have a "closer by match-up". Saves are an overrated category anyway(as we obviously have seen with JJ/AL saves and BS leader); unless of course we can develop a Mariano Rivera, Greg Holland, or a Craig Kimbrel.
So now that we have established that our closer will not be definite(for now), we can look at what to do with Johnson. Trading him to one of the teams above would be my best suggestion. The Los Angelos Angels seem to be fitting; with bullpen problems of their own, I believe Jim would fit well with that team in the near future. Mr. Mark Trumbo is arbitration eligible after this season and I strongly think that we would have a shot at him. The Angels are a future powerhouse, and with getting rid of Trumbo, Pujols can fill the DH role and put some youth in the outfield with Trout and J.B. Shuck. Now, second base.. Flaherty has officially shown us that he will never be anything more than a utility infielder off the bench. JONATHON SCHOOP: STAND UP, IT’S YOUR TIME. This kid has been chomping at the bit to get his shot at the Bigs and I think 2014 is his time at 2B. He’s similar to Machado when it comes to hitting, and comparable to Hardy up the middle. His OBP is 60 points higher than his batting average(which is .278 this season in the minors), so maybe we could slot him in the 2-hole and allow Machado to drive in more runs out of the 6 or 7-hole. Starting pitching is also somewhat of a "problem"; although I really don’t think it’s nearly as serious as everyone believes. Look at who we have that has performed average to above expectations: Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Tillman(ace stuff), Bud Norris(worth bringing back), Gausman, Bundy, Britton, and we cannot forget last year’s ALL-STAR Jason Hammel; or even Steve Johnson who impressed many over the past two season. Yes, it may take a couple years, but with leaders such as Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, Crush, and the greatest manager in the game of baseball, Buck Showalter, I think O’s fans need to give the team some time to fill out. We have had back to back impressive seasons. 274-253 since Papa Buck has come on as manager. We have a bright future!!!
P.S.- I also think giving Gausman a shot at a couple saves isn't a bad idea.. Power stuff and we're saving his arm.