I guess the newest thing is:
CHC gets: SS Miguel Tejada
OAK gets: LHP Erik Bedard
BAL gets: LHP Barry Zito and RHP Mark Prior
1. Why would Beane give up Zito and get only Bedard in return?
I guess because Bedard could be every bit as good as Zito and isn't a free agent after this year.
2. Does this unlikely trade make the Orioles better?
I'm not so sure about that. Zito will have a lot of interest on the free agent market after this year, a lot of it based on name value, and chances are not great he'd want to stay in Baltimore. If Prior is healthy he's one of the best pitchers in baseball and would still be a great building block.
3. Who would play shortstop?
I do not know. Considering how much the Cubs think of Prior (and rightly so, it can be argued) we would be unlikely to convince them to include Ronny Cedeno, who could be a pretty damn good player and would be a better option than anyone in our system right now. More important than just "who plays shortstop" is "who replaces Tejada's bat?" We're already weak in the outfield and at first base and the market has thinned greatly. With Tejada gone you'd be looking at a lineup relying very heavily on Brian Roberts (who, in this case, it should be noted could be a fluke), a declining Melvin Mora and inconsistent and injury-prone Jay Gibobns. We didn't score many runs to begin with, and taking Tejada out of the lineup would be bad news.
Then again, you're looking at this rotation:
RHP Mark Prior
LHP Barry Zito
RHP Daniel Cabrera
LHP Bruce Chen
RHP Rodrigo Lopez
And that's an actual rotation. So, I dunno. I doubt we'll see this go through or even get very close to going through, but it's always fun to speculate.