Eric “I live with my parents” Bedard is now officially a Seattle Mariner, and the following 5 players are now Baltimore Orioles:
Adam “Don’t call me Pac-Man” Jones – 22 year old centerfielder. Compared by some to Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones, Mike Cameron. We hope for the Hunter-Jones comparisons to be more accurate than the Cameron one. He is said to have a very strong arm, having been a pitcher in high school, and above average speed, although he has never been much of a base stealer. The current knock on him is plate discipline, as he struck out 21 times with only 4 walks in 2007. This has led one blogger we read to give him the early nickname of “hack-man” Jones. Bravo.
Chris Tillman – 19 year old right handed pitcher. At 6’5”, he will have to put a lot of work in the coming years into his mechanics, so as to not become the next Daniel Cabrera. Tillman is highly thought of in baseball circles though, and his youth gives him tremendous upside.
George Sherrill – 31 year old left handed pitcher. Sherrill is the only one in the trade that doesn’t really fit with the O’s rebuilding plans, being older than even Bedard. However, he will likely be the solution in the short-term to the Orioles’ no-closer problem, with Chris Ray out for the year after having Tommy John surgery.
Tony Butler – 20 year old left handed pitcher. Butler is another one that looks like a basketball player, at 6’7”. According to Keith Law of ESPN.com, Butler “was 90-93 with a sharp two-plane-breaking curve out of high school, but he battled a sore back through all of 2007 and his velocity and numbers took a step back. Should he return to full health in 2008, he’s worth a revisit, as he was a legitimate third-round pick in 2006 who still has upside.”
Kameron Mickolio – 24 year old right handed pitcher. Again we will quote Law: “Mickolio is close to big-league ready with a solid-average fastball and slider; his ceiling is as a capable 11th or 12th man in the big leagues.”
There you have your introductions to the players the O’s received in Andy MacPhail’s second 5-for-1 this offseason. Most baseball writers around the country seem to agree that the O’s made out on this one, and are moving in the right direction. For instance:
Law: “Giving up six years of Jones for two of Bedard when Jones is already ready to contribute to a big-league club is a poor deal for Seattle.”
CBS Sportsline’s Scott Miller: “In dealing Erik Bedard to Seattle on Friday and Miguel Tejada to Houston in December, Baltimore president Andy MacPhail acquired 10 different players, and even if the Orioles now may have to summon Charlie Brown to be their opening day starter, this is exactly the kind of thinking this decrepit organization needs. Amassing young players — not sending Snoopy’s master to the hill.”
Spencer Fordin of MLB.com: “The moves won’t make the Orioles better in 2008, but they should make the organization healthier moving forward.”
That last one speaks loudest. The Orioles very well may lose 100 games in 2008, and will probably finally be overtaken by the Tampa Bay Rays and fall into the basement of the AL East, a position they have been flirting with for years. However, the stockpile of young talent they are amassing could bode very well for the team’s future. Anyway, won’t it be more exciting to see the O’s lose games with these young, hungry, talented players than it has been to watch them lose games over the past decade with stop-gap, high-priced, non-hustling veterans like Marty Cordova? Especially given the newfound hope for the future? We say yes. What say you?