The Baltimore Orioles are a shocking 17 games out of first place. Part of it is that they’ve played really poorly, but that has been compounded with Tampa Bay playing excellent baseball and opening up a canyon sized gap despite the calendar still reading May. However, while their playoff odds may be zero due in large part because of the division they play in, the fact still remains that the Orioles hold no realistic chance of playing baseball in October of this year.
With that being made clear so quickly, the Orioles should take advantage of the one silver lining in the cloud that is their 2010 season – the ability to be the first seller to market.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve heard multiple GMs explaining that there simply isn’t a market of available players yet. The oft-quoted principle of the first third of the season being for evaluating your roster has spread, and historically, there have been very few significant trades made before June. Organizations are reticent to wave the white flag too early in a given season, and prefer to wait until summer before becoming sellers.
This reluctance to trade, quite simply, an opportunity for the Orioles. They have several pieces who could be of interest to potential contenders who need to improve sooner than later, and could peddle the likes of Kevin Millwood, Luke Scott, Ty Wigginton, and Miguel Tejada without any serious competition from other teams who will join the market in a month or two.
Being the only seller in a market where there is demand for players can only be a good thing for the Orioles. While they have some attractive pieces, players like Wigginton won’t stand up as well once the market gets crowded with better players being made available. Right now, he would be the best right-handed hitter any team could acquire, though that almost certainly won’t be true in July.
There’s no point in waiting any longer. The Orioles should let every GM know that their players are available, and they’re willing to deal. They might not be selling grade A premium beef, but there’s a reason Taco Bell does so well at 2 am – they’re the only ones open.