The Wieters Question

It has been a little less than two months since the 2013 baseball season has ended.

There’s been a lot of talk about the Birds as of late, but little action so far in the offseason.

There has been some chatter about J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters being offered up in a trade.

I think a lot of the talk was just conjecture and to see what both men were worth to other teams. I’m not sure why the Orioles would want to offer two of their best offensive players in a trade; however, they do need young pitchers and to replenish their minor league system.

The Orioles have needs and quite a few. They have quite a young core, and I believe they have a short window to contend before it shuts.

It’s known by pretty much all of the fans of the Orioles that they need a second baseman, a designated hitter, a left fielder (determined on whether Nate McLouth re-signs), perhaps a player who can take walks at the plate and perhaps most important – another starting pitcher or two.

Well, especially (one or two) that can perhaps keep the ball in Camden Yards.

As it is, I am not sure how the Orioles will do in the free agent market. There have been quite a few articles online that the organization may need to make a trade or two to free up dollars to sign Chris Davis (who is up for a huge raise) and to cover the rising salaries of a few players due to service time.

Peter Schmuck touched upon all of this in an article via the Baltimore Sun website:

Why, for instance, does anyone think that it would make sense for the club to trade J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters simply because they can become free agents a year or two down the road? The major reason the Orioles are finally a competitive team in one of baseball's most competitive divisions is because they have built a historically elite defense, so it would border on madness to deal away half of the game's best up-the-middle alignment ahead of a season in which the O's believe they have a chance to be a serious playoff contender.

If that were to happen, it would simply confirm that Peter Angelos and his front office have no ambition beyond fielding a reasonably attractive team, competing until early September and increasing their local revenue streams. The club's recent history allows for such cynicism, but it should be well apparent to all at this point that the sharp upturn in attendance and MASN ratings will only continue if the franchise works hard to keep hope alive at Camden Yards.

Whether that means ownership will allow — or insist upon — a significant payroll increase to add a couple of key free agents and hold the nucleus of the team together into the second half of this decade remains to be seen, but the organization has to recognize that its competitive window with this group of players will be open the widest during the next two seasons.

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It will be another busy winter for the Birds. I’m not quite sure what they will do. They have been adverse to signing players to huge nine-figure deals. I would think due to the sports network, increased attendance, and general interest that they would take a dip in the free-agent pool.

Then again, spending big money on free agents has been against the Orioles’ method of operation for the past several years.

Baltimore did sign Adam Jones to a big deal last season; however, I do not see them going after a big-name pitcher or a player in the Robinson Cano category.

I have faith in Dan Duquette and he’s been quite creative in building the organization back up over the past two seasons.

Well, he will have to do more and perhaps have to get the Orioles to open up the purse strings, plus take some risks if they are going to contend with the likes of the Red Sox or Tigers.