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July 30, 2010

Cantu trade affects Wigginton; O's may stay put now

With all of the news surrounding the Orioles on Thursday, one major happening may have gotten lost.

The Florida Marlins dealt third baseman Jorge Cantu to the Texas Rangers for two minor leaguers. It wasn’t exactly a headline-grabber outside of Miami and Dallas, but it will be felt in Baltimore.

With Cantu, a right-handed power bat going to Texas to play first base, the Rangers no longer are pursuing Wigginton.

That’s significant, because the Orioles’ brass has long viewed Texas as the best fit for a Wigginton trade. The Rangers have one of the best farm systems in baseball, have three highly regarded minor league shortstops (and one young one in the majors) and were the most aggressive involving Wigginton.

There are some others who have showed interest in Wigginton, but no one willing to meet the Orioles’ current price. That could change – by one side or the other – before Saturday’s 4 p.m. deadline, but Wigginton is no longer a slam-dunk to be moved.

One of the reasons the Orioles were more comfortable in dealing Miguel Tejada (to the San Diego Padres for a minor league pitcher) than Wigginton is that the organization has an obvious fill-in for Tejada at third in Josh Bell, whom the club wants to evaluate in the second half.

Brandon Snyder, the club’s projected first baseman of the future, has struggled at Triple-A and isn’t deemed ready for the majors. The Orioles could move Luke Scott or Jake Fox to first base for the remainder of the season or call up a guy like Michael Aubrey or Rhyne Hughes if Wigginton were dealt. But there is no pressing need to open first base for any of those players like there was with Bell.

Plus, the Orioles like Wigginton’s hard-charging attitude and the way he instructs the young guys and he isn’t making much – in industry standards – so there’s little point of a salary dump.

Andy MacPhail wouldn’t go into specifics, but he said Thursday that dealing Tejada didn’t affect whether the club would trade Wigginton.

“I think we are still going to be guided by what is in our best long-term interest,” MacPhail said. “I don’t think the two are related.”

If I had to handicap which Orioles players still may be moved by the deadline, my order would be this: Wigginton, lefty Will Ohman, Scott. But I don’t anticipate anything, honestly.

I have been told that a Jeremy Guthrie trade is now a near impossibility based on the way he has pitched recently and on how poorly the rest of the rotation has fared. Throw in the fact that Guthrie is under club control for two more seasons after this one, and the Orioles would have to be blown away to deal Guthrie. And it’s highly unlikely that a contending team would go to such lengths to land the right-hander.

The Orioles continue to talk with other clubs about Wigginton and Ohman, who will be free agents, and to a lesser extent Scott. But my guess – and it’s an educated guess, but not much more – is that Tejada may be the only non-waiver trade deadline casualty.

Here’s what MacPhail said when asked Thursday evening about the likelihood of more trades:

“I don’t really have anything that is close at the present time. It would have to be something that would be a relatively new discussion,” MacPhail said. “We have no shortage of discussions, but at the present time, the only thing that came to fruition was Tejada.”

That, as we have been reminded by MacPhail many times in the past, can always change with one phone call.

Posted by Dan Connolly at 1:53 PM | | Comments (12)


I'm surprised that no one has showed any interest in Cory Patterson. Can you comment as to why we haven't heard his name mentioned?

Shocker ... MacSloth takes too long and voila. Another opportunity lost.

I guess he and his staff really can't do two things at one time.

Why are you so ready to blame MacPhail? There are other players out there, you know, and not everyone's clamoring for Orioles' guys. If the Orioles can trade and get a decent return, fine, but why rush a trade just for the sake of making a trade?

You say opportunity lost. What opportunity? Do you know that the Orioles were going to get any thing of value in return to make it worthwhile? There are worse things than having Wigggy, Scott, Guthrie, et al, still here. Yet you make it seem like it's another debacle and it is not.

What about Reimold at first base. Is everything he did forgotton beacuse of the bad start this season.

Aubrey has torn the cover off the ball over the last few weeks. The problem with him was always his health. If you neutralize park and luck this season, he's actually been killing it in the minors. I'd be fine with having him come up and get a shot.

the team is losing badly with scott, wiggenton, lugo and other vets. just get rid of some of these vets who really aren't going to have any future and let some young kids play and gain some experience. bring aubrey, andino, moore joe mahoney, reimold and let em all play some. there is nothing to lose at thsi point and maybe something to gain.

I'd be inclined to try and trade Luke now while he's hot and his value is at its highest. We know he's going to go into a slump soon and his numbers will come back to earth. Move him now or we'll regret it later.

Hey Dave: if you know it and I know it, think other teams might know it, too? No one is going to be fooled into thinking Luke's hot streak is the Luke they'll be getting for the next two months. He is what he is, and he can help some teams, but interested clubs aren't going to pay more because Luke is on a hot streak.

I have to say I took the timing of the Showalter announcement to mean the team didn't have any slam-dunk trades to satisfy fans with this year. Clever distraction, announcing the manager people have been waiting to hear for two months only two days before the trade deadline, curiously enough. Nobody ever accused MacPhail of being stupid when it comes to skillful PR management.

He may have gotten the distraction he was looking for, with all the Sun's sportswriters filing columns on Showalter rather than the Os failure to get any good trades at all (I'll take the Tejada deal but more was expected). However, what cards does MacPhail have left to play- he got through his first two years on the strength of the Bedard and Tejada trades and low expectations. Last year he used a staggered unveiling of some of the younger talent to keep fan spirits high. This year he finally cashes in the "replace manager" card and has picked a replacement the fans can respect (the warehouse would have burned had he picked another "nice guy" rookie).

The only card to play from here on out short of winning- and MacPhail knows this- is making a real splash in the free agent market this offseason. If he goes cheap as in the last few offseasons, next April all you will hear at Camden is the sound of crickets chirping...

Who cares whether or not Luke Scott is streaky? The bottom line is what his stats are at the end of the season, and they are always quite respectable.

Also count me in among those who do not think that the end-of-world year 2012 is minutes away if we don't trade everyone on the team.

One more time - We should not be giving guys away. If we cannot get fair value for our guys, then we should be keeping our boys and letting the league know we are no longer suckers.

Nobody, for example, is excited about the kid we got for Miggy. Miggy may not be old-Miggy but he is still decent-Miggy. Yet some folks are simply excited only because he is apparently not as lousy as everyone expected (so far as we know!). But any thoughts that the kid might actually be any good are too absurd for reality and should be banished fimmediately from everyone's mind.

As for Luke Scott, he is a valuable member of this team in many ways and it should truly take a Guthrie-type of offer to gain acceptance from a front office to pry him out of our cold, dead, waiver-ridden hands.

When can the Orioles start passing players through waivers so that they can trade them in August? I'm thinking about Millwood, if he could have a big turn around in August (I know, a real big if) the sooner they get him through wavers the better.

Reimold is hitting in the .220's in AAA...I also find it odd that he's played the majority of 1st Base down in Norfolk, whereas Hughes has been in the outfield predominantly ever since he was sent back to AAA.

would have liked to seen os trade for fontenont, i heard they didnt want much for him. and he has a nice ba

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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