The O's need to consider trading Cedric Mullins

I know that the title is going to generate a little bit of hate and I can understand that but just hear me out. I am not necessarily in favor of trading Mullins but I do think it would be irresponsible of the front office to not at least listen to offers for him. A combination of two factors put the Orioles in a position where it would make sense to possibly trade Cedric Mullins this season. The first being where Mullins is at in his career and the second being the teams hypothetical championship window.

Mullins is coming off of a career year where he posted a slash line of .291/.360/.518 with 30 HRs and a wRC+ of 136. On top of his offensive production, he played stellar defense in center field ranking in the 96th percentile for outs above average. All of that is great, so why would the Orioles want to trade one of the best center fielders in baseball? For starters, last year was his first full season in the Majors at 26 years old and he will be 27 entering this season. While I do think that Mullins is for real and last year wasn't a fluke, there is no concrete evidence that points to that.

Now let's talk about when the Orioles will be able to realistically compete. With the prospects that the Orioles currently have in the number one farm system plus the front offices reluctance to spend money, the window for the Orioles to compete for the pennant will realistically open around the 2025/26 seasons. Even with both the number one pitching and hitting prospects in Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez, they are going to need time to become major factors in the big league lineup. By 2025 they will be joined by D.L. Hall, Coby Mayo, Colton Cowser, and other highly touted prospects. Hopefully by then the Orioles will be more motivated to land big names in free agency and build a contender.

What does that have to Mullins? As I mentioned earlier he is going to be entering his age 27 season, he is in his prime right now. While he will likely be able to post similar numbers to the ones he had last year, he likely only has 4-5 years of that kind of production in him. Despite last year being his first full season in the majors, he isn't exactly a young player that is going to be around for a long time. If you go and look at his Savant page, his two best attributes are outs above average (96th percentile) and sprint speed (86th percentile), two attributes that are going to decline as he passes 30 years old. On top of that, two of his worse attributes on his Savant page are average exit velocity (51st percentile) and hard hit % (39th percentile). Despite not making a lot of hard contact last year, mullins was still able to muscle out 30 bombs but the power numbers are likely to fall also as he ages. Long story short, how valuable is a 30 year old Cedric Mullins going to be in 2025 when the play off window opens.

While I do think the Orioles need to listen to offers as they come in, I would only trade Mullins for a great package. Three teams that could put together packages for Mullins would be Miami, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. Below are a couple of ideas for trades that I drew up. It can be hard to gauge value in MLB trades so please offer criticism/other ideas.

Miami receives - Cedric Mullins (CF) Orioles receive - Max Meyer (RHP) & JJ Bleday (OF)

This deal would send Baltimore two of the Marlins top 10 prospects and the number 35 and 69 prospects in all of baseball respectfully. Meyer and Bleday are also set to make their debuts this season. This deal would be asking a lot but the Marlins have the prospect depth to put together a very strong package for Mullins.

San Francisco receives - Cedric Mullins (CF) Orioles receive - Luis Matos (OF), Ryan Murphy (RHP), & Eric Silva (RHP)

Matos is the number 3 prospect in the Giant's system, he had a strong showing between A and high A ball last year posting an .852 OPS. At just 20 years old Matos could be up in the next two years and make a strong impact. Murphy and Silva would add depth to the pitching prospects already in the Orioles system. The Giants would have the ability to alter this deal and still make a strong offer.

Philadelphia receives - Cedric Mullins (CF) Orioles receive - Johan Rojas (OF), Matt Vierling (OF), & Hao Yu Lee (2B)

The Phillies have one of the weakest farm systems in baseball so I don't think asking for three prospects inside their top 20 is too egregious. Rojas is a 21 year old speedy outfielder, he swiped 25 bags in 78 games of A ball last year. Vierling had a strong showing in the Majors last year posting a .324/.364/.479 slash line in 34 games. Lee is a 19 year old who is still a ways out but played well in rookie ball last year.

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