Daniel Cabrera pitched four hitless innings, striking out seven and walking one against Venezuela. That's pretty nice. Pretty encouraging.
Apparently the only thing holding up a Luis Matos-for-Todd Walker trade between us and the Cubs is the Orioles not wanting to pay the entire $1.6 million in salary difference. Considering it's $1.6 million, if the Orioles really want to get the deal done, they would be taking it, so I don't think they're all that concerned. Likewise, if the Cubs were really up in arms to lose Walker and get Matos, they'd be paying half of it or so without batting an eye. So I'm getting the impression this isn't something either team is dying for.
We sure are into dealing with the Cubs the last couple offseasons, aren't we? Sosa, Patterson, now maybe Todd Walker.
I don't know about the Walker-for-Matos deal. Walker's a better player and he'd give us (1) someone to start for Roberts if Brian Bob is out for a while; (2) insurance for Millar AND Conine AND Javy AND Hernandez, as he could easily move to 1B or be a fine DH; (3) a left-handed bat, no matter what situation you're talking about. Walker can still hit -- .305/.355/.474 with 12 HR in 397 AB last season.
And besides that I think he could honestly be a help to the team, I like Todd Walker, always have, and he's gotten the short end of the stick during his two years with the Cubs.
Then again, there's still a good chance that if you lose Matos, you're losing your best center fielder. Howeeeeeeeever... does it really matter for this season? By all accounts, Nick Markakis is on the fast track to the major leagues, and I think it would almost be a little surprising if he wasn't an everyday player in 2007 -- not to put pressure on him (if he cared at all what I thought, that is), but it's the impression that I get.
We're not expected to compete. If Patterson flails away for 400-500 ABs in center, is it going to make us less of a contender? Obviously the goal is to win every season, teams take the field to win. But at some point, usually around July, most of them start facing facts. Some do it even earlier. They call them "rebuilding years." The Orioles have yet to really have one where they commit to the fact that they're rebuilding. The Royals have one every year, but they don't really do it right.
And hey, what if a change of scenery is all Patterson needs anyway? He could do it. Who knows?
So I think what I'm getting at, and what I've decided, is that they might as well trade Matos for Walker, since I don't see Matos ever being anything more than a marginal starting outfielder, they might as well really try Patterson if they're going to bother at all, Markakis is waiting in the wings for when who our center fielder is might really matter, and Todd Walker is cool and can hit a baseball.