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More Ponson rumors

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Sidney Ponson is scheduled to start tonight. If he does, it could be his last start as a Baltimore Oriole. I almost feel like dancing.

This from a story at the Washington Post:

Baltimore fielded several calls about Ponson on Friday and had at least two promising leads, one American League source said. In one scenario, which was discussed at length on Friday, Ponson would head to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for a mid-level player. Baltimore also would pick up a yet-to-be-determined amount of the approximately $15 million Ponson is owed through next year.

If that deal falls through, the Orioles could re-start discussions with the San Diego Padres, who on Friday offered first baseman Phil Nevin, according to the source. Nevin will make $9 million this year and $10 million next season. That would be an even swap of high-salaried players.

Another source said Ponson could be traded to the Rangers for Richard Hidalgo.

If Tampa is the case, I say trade him tonight and let him suit up for the Rays so we can get some hacks in against him. Maybe he plunks Sal Fasano and gets a beatdown, with a cut opened on the bridge of his nose and milkshake pours out.

But let's see what you've got here. The obvious plus is getting Ponson off this team. Not only does he suck, but he's a bad apple and a downright nuisance.

If Ponson goes to San Diego for Nevin, it blocks the Marlins deal again because Angelos would be further unwilling to add Lowell's contract, and with good reason. If I picked between the two at this very point in time, I'd take Lowell. He's four years younger, doesn't have near the injury history Nevin does, and is basically having a similar down year but is showing signs of life whereas Nevin just got back from another injury and had been slumping badly before then.

San Diego plays in a humongous pitchers' park, this is true. But Nevin hit .289/.368/.492 last year with 25 homers; this year, he's at .262/.303/.410 with nine homers. Is this really much better than Lowell? Count the age and injury differences, and I'd say it most certainly is not. Furthermore, Nevin's home OPS is about 30 points higher than his road OPS this season, though that was not the case last year (.887 road v. .829 home).

Nevin's old, overpaid and gets hurt a lot. Would he do more for our team than Ponson? It's quite possible. But if he blocks Lowell, are you talking about an upgrade in potential deals, especially if it means losing out on Burnett? Absolutely not.

Richard Hidalgo is streaky as hell but I would go ahead and say that he sucks. Playing in Arlington, he's hitting .224/.293/.438 with 16 homers. He is equally atrocious in Texas and on the road. He did have a fantastic May, where he hit .307 with a 1.051 OPS and eight homers, but that should simply tell you how God awful the rest of his season has been. Putting him and Sammy Sosa in the same lineup - and more likely than not very close to one another in the lineup - is just asking to have even more rallies killed than we already tend to blow up.

Hidalgo was outstanding in 2000 and pretty damn good in 2003. But he's been slightly above average one other season (2001) and mediocre-to-annoying the rest of his career. He's never developed as a player. He's probably never going to have another great year. He's 30 years old.

So why the attraction? Hidalgo is only signed through this year. It would be a desperation move to add OF power, but at least he would only be a problem through the rest of this season. And maybe you get two good months out of him, but then what? Re-sign him? I'll pass, but I don't have the confidence that the Orioles' front office would feel the same way.

The idea with either Hidalgo or Nevin would be addition by subtraction and a prayer that it's also addition by addition. The chances of Hidalgo or Nevin being an impact player aren't great or even good; the key is losing Ponson. If I picked one of the two, I'd rather have Hidalgo simply because he's a free agent again after this year, and because he doesn't block the Burnett deal from happening if the Marlins keep insisting on including Lowell.

So the question is really, would you rather have Ponson or Hidalgo or Nevin? In usual cases you take a bad arm over a bad bat, but there are other factors to consider here, "intangibles" and whatnot. Getting Ponson off of this team could be a breath of fresh air. John Hart has long been a Ponson admirer (John Hart looooves bad pitchers), so if I had to guess where he's going, if anywhere, it'll be Texas.