Orioles: The deal
By now, you all know that the Orioles have agreed to trade closer George Sherrill to the Dodgers for pitcher Steve Johnson (yes, Dave's son) and a 22-year-old power-hitting third baseman named Josh Bell. Everybody's still digesting this, and the clubs are scurrying to get the paperwork together to make it official, but it tells me at least one thing:
The Orioles must be planning to bring back either Melvin Mora or Aubrey Huff for one more season.
Why do I think that? Because Bell is a big kid with a big swing, but he's not a spring training away from the major leagues. He's a switch-hitting third baseman who has shown good power in the low minor leagues, but he's also got very wide splits between the left side (his good side) and the right side (where he has struggled pretty badly at the Double-A level). Oh, and he also made 38 errors in 108 games in 2007 and has 17 in 91 games at Chattanooga this season.
He's a work in progress who could end up playing either third base or first, but I can't imagine the Orioles are projecting him to play either at a level higher than Triple-A next year.
Of course, you've got to be happy for Dave Johnson, who won't have to drive to Michigan or some other distant spot to watch his son pitch anymore. Steve had some ups and downs after signing with the Dodgers out of St. Paul's, but he was 8-4 with a 3.82 ERA in the California League before being called up to Double-A Chattanooga recently. He was only there for two starts, but he pitched well in both (1-1, 1.69 ERA).
It's only logical to presume both players will be assigned to the Double-A Bowie Baysox.
Do you think they O's got enough for Sherrill?
WBAL plug: We'll throw that question out tonight at six on Sportsline (WBAL, 1090 AM) right after we bring you fresh sound from the Michael Oher news conference that is going to start at about 5:50 p.m. at the Ravens facility in Owings Mills. If you're outside of WBAL signal range, go to WBAL.com and click on the "Listen Live" icon.
Associated Press photo