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Orioles may trade Matt Wieters or J.J. Hardy to create payroll flexibility

Nov 15, 2013, 10:10 PM EDT

Baltimore Orioles v Pittsburgh Pirates Getty Images

With their eyes on the horizon, the Orioles are open to the possibility of trading catcher Matt Wieters or shortstop J.J. Hardy to create payroll flexibility, reports Steve Melewski of MASN. The O’s have some interesting situations to address in the near future including extending Chris Davis (a free agent after 2015) and buying out Manny Machado‘s upcoming arbitration years (2016-18).

Wieters is arbitration-eligible for his second of three years, meaning he’ll be a free agent after the 2015 season. MLB Trade Rumors projects a $7.9 million salary for Wieters which will only climb next year, then will set the benchmark for the average annual value of a contract extension. It makes sense that the Orioles, who opened the 2013 season with a $92 million payroll, would explore a trade. Though Wieters has not lived up to the (perhaps unfair) hype that surrounded him as he made his way up through the Orioles’ farm system, he has been consistently reliable at a premium position.

On the other hand, Hardy is 31 years old and a free agent after the 2014 season. While he has been superb for the Orioles, he doesn’t factor in as a long-term piece, so making him available is standard fare. According to Baseball Reference, the only shortstops more valuable than Hardy since 2011 have been Elvis Andrus and Troy Tulowitzki, going by Wins Above Replacement.

  1. watermelon1 - Nov 15, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    They don’t even need aces on the mound. They just need guys who can keep the ball out of the stands. Ground ball pitchers.

    I would honestly rather see them trade markakis or jones… As outfielders are so much easier to replace. And I think BOTH of those guys are very overrated both offensively and defensively.

    Writers is horrible at the plate but he’s pretty good behind it. Then again… Maybe his calls are part of the pitching problem?

    The Machado injury just kills this team and probably closes their VERY short window.

    • chill1184 - Nov 15, 2013 at 10:30 PM

      Just out of curiosity why do you believe that the Orioles have a short window? As you pointed out, the Orioles need some decent ground ballers to get themseleves back in the playoff picture. I dont see a particular dominate team in that division, if we look at how all the teams in the AL East are constructed but thats just me.

  2. steelers88 - Nov 15, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    Trade Hardy to the Pirates please!!!!

  3. chrisernst82 - Nov 16, 2013 at 4:52 AM

    I know the Cards turned one offer down but I would love to see them work this out. Make it happen mo

    • stevequinn - Nov 17, 2013 at 1:30 AM

      Orioles wanted Shelby Miller and Mozeliak isn’t about to give him up. I think a trade of Lynn and possibly Freese might get Hardy for the Cards. Or maybe Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly.

  4. thebadguyswon - Nov 16, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    Mets will take Hardy. Maybe a swap of Hardy and Markakis for pitcher Rafael Montero and Daniel Murphy.

  5. gibbyfan - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    I am not an Os fan but this is an obvious example of where the competitive balance is baseball has been lost and exactly what that means……….They could be on the cusp of winning by adding a few pieces but they have to look to subtract rather than add…….whereas about a dozen teams in a similar position would just keep building. In some cases even to the extent of DOUBLING the 92 million payroll. Some will say it doesnt matter –poor teams win sometimes. I say while there will always be outliers, $$$ count big in baseball and if you really want balance you have to have something akin to an NFL style cap —This is a perfect example

    • beachnbaseball - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      Disagree. The Orioles can spend money without having to trade off players. They choose not to spend. Instead, they overvalue their players; they try to acquire quality players by proposing lopsided, unrealistic deals. As a result, they build the team by dumpster diving and shopping in the bargain basement. Their front office looks at moderate success the team had in 2012 and 2013 and decides to get by on the cheap. They make some noise at the GM and Winter Meetings; they tell the fans they were serious about acquiring a big name player but they just couldn’t come to an agreement.

      • paperlions - Nov 16, 2013 at 11:12 AM

        Exactly. The Orioles have the ability to spend a lot more, especially with all of the free money they get from the Nationals, they simply choose not to do so.

        I really don’t see any playoff window for Baltimore unless they are willing to spend more money to keep the offense and defense together. They need a ton of pitching to really be competitive…and if they are waiting for that pitching to come up from the minors without keeping their position players together, they are just planning for a bunch of 80-85 win seasons with the hopes of getting lucky one year.

      • gibbyfan - Nov 16, 2013 at 4:36 PM

        Maybe you guys know a lot more than me when it comes to O’s…What I know is this –TV contracts are a major source of revenue. There was a report recently right on this site showing cable revenue for all the teams…………LA, NY at the top –going all the way down to teams getting barely anything relatively speaking . Don’t recall where the O’s were but the disparity between the top and the bottom was a factor of 10………I would call that a major and irreconcilable difference.

  6. everon63 - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    Weiters does not call the pitches, signs come from the dugout, love it when people say, matt calls a good/bad game. Owner pete has the ultimate GM in Dan “dumpster diver” duquette, marginal signings to build a competitive team that will once again miss the postseason

    • paperlions - Nov 16, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      Bull. There is no organization for which both major and minor league catchers do not call the game. The only thing that might come from the dugout is a pitch out or a pick off. Catchers choose which signs to put down and pitchers chose if they will throw it or shake it off.

      I love when people that have no idea what they are talking about are so confident in their wrongness.

      • everon63 - Nov 16, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        Paperlions, stupid is STUPID SAYS, you are sooo clueless

  7. arrooo - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    Mets should send the O’s Montero, Ike Davis, Travis dArnault and Dan Murphy for Markakus , Weiters, and Caleb Joseph

  8. broncostevenp - Nov 16, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    David price for matt weiters straight up. Let’s get it done.

  9. 18thstreet - Nov 16, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    I’ve started using this site a lot — — and it seems to me that the Orioles have PLENTY of payroll flexibility. Jones and Markakis are the only expensive commitments they’ve made.

  10. randomdigits - Nov 16, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    They have a relief pitcher, who blew nine saves last season, projected to earn more then 10 million in arbitration next season and they want to trade the starting catcher or short stop.

    Does that sound backward to anyone else?

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Nov 16, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      That relief pitcher also lead the league in saves. Yes he had a off (for him) season, but he also did a lot of good. People need to get over the expectations that Mariano Rivera has set. No one’s going to be perfect like he was.

      • randomdigits - Nov 16, 2013 at 3:50 PM

        He also lead the league in save opportunities, by a fair margin.

        A team with the O’s budget has no business paying anything close to 10 million on a bullpen arm.

      • cur68 - Nov 16, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        If Weiters gets traded, are you going to change your HBT handle? Perhaps “scoutsayweitersgottraded”?

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Nov 16, 2013 at 5:28 PM

        @ Random I would expand that statement to suggest that NO team should be paying anything close to 10 on a bullpen arm. It’s absurd.

        @cur68 If Wieters gets traded, I have NO CLUE what I’m going to do with my handle. It stresses me out just thinking about it.

      • randomdigits - Nov 17, 2013 at 10:08 AM

        I agree that 10 million for a BP arm is ridiculous, however if a team has 180 million + in payroll it is less ridiculous. To have one BP arm take up roughly 10% of a team’s payroll is asinine.

  11. dtrower1 - Nov 16, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    I think O’s would be much better off trading J Johnson & Nick Markaikis to free up $. Nick gets much too much to just be a “spray-hitter” & JJ is NOT worth his pay! Between Hardy & Wieters you are giving up 50+HR’s You gave up 40 HR’s with Reynolds last year and seemingly are willing to give up 50HR’s this year Not very smart but if Angelos and his flack DD want to pursue their very cheap approach again the fans will NEVER have a winner in Balto.!!!

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Nov 16, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      There is no market for Nick Markakis. He’s been in steady decline and will not garner the return you think he will. Same with Jim Johnson. Relief pitchers are a pretty common commodity and most people won’t want to pay the 10mil a year cost to keep him around. J.J. Hardy is at the peak of his career, one of the top 5 short stops in the game with A+ defense and above average power. He’s a pending free agent and does not figure into the Orioles long term plans with Machado set to take the SS throne and is the one that can actually get a pretty decent return.

  12. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Nov 16, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    I really like Hardy, but he’s got to go. He’s not likely to resign once his contract is up and they HAVE to get something for him while they can. It will create a large hole at third, but with very few free agents on the horizon, and getting stuck in the toughest division in baseball, the team has to consistently push forward. They just don’t have the luxury to stand back and hope things turn out.

    Wieters is another story. I’d really like to see him stay, but I get the feeling the team is simply looking at the writing on the wall here. He seems poised to hit the free agent market, at which point the team will refuse to get into a bidding war over him. At this point the only way he stays is if he makes the effort to get a deal done.

    Chris Davis is the next one to worry about. He’s another Boras agent and with another year like last season, and he’ll be in line for a top 10 salary type contract.

    • randomdigits - Nov 16, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      Schoop should be ready to move into third by the all star break.

      The problem with moving Wiets is that the O’s have no one in the system remotely ready to take over. With his current value depressed he is more valuable to the O’s as a player then a trade chip.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Nov 16, 2013 at 5:30 PM

        Maybe I missed something. Are they moving Schoop from second? I thought the reason they initially moved him away from short was due to a lack of arm strength. If you have any articles discussing, please link I would love to read up. I haven’t followed him as much as I should have.

      • randomdigits - Nov 17, 2013 at 10:11 AM

        You are missing a crap load of scouting reports that say Schoop is better suited to third then second.

        His arm isn’t a problem at all, it is more of a footwork issue.

        It is about desirability, you put the prospect at SS till he proves he can’t play there, then you move him to second and then to a corner infield/outfield position.

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