Alright, let’s not even try to sugar coat things, Dan Duquette may be a genius. Who else trades a 37-year-old who hasn’t played more than 50 games in two seasons for a player who is already a proven utility player on a winning team? That’s what I thought.
Alex Gonzalez deserves a lot of credit for this. He had a GREAT spring for the Baltimore Orioles, and now is rewarded by a starting spot on what I believe is one of the top three teams in the AL, the Detroit Tigers (with the Orioles and Boston Red Sox). Gonzalez was 12-28 this spring for a .429 average, and is always a good fielding option. In fact, Buck Showalter commented Monday that Gonzalez was going to make the Orioles as a utility infielder had he not been traded.
But in return, the Orioles get Steve Lombardozzi Jr. There is a lot to like here for Orioles’ fans.
First, Lombardozzi comes from a baseball family, as his dad was a major leaguer. Also, he lives in Columbia, Maryland and grew up going to Orioles games.
Lombardozzi is only 25-years-old, a significant 12 years younger than Gonzalez. He also is under team option until 2018.
Lombardozzi can play second base, third base and the outfield, and is a switch-hitter. He played in over 100 games in each of the last two seasons for the Washington Nationals, hitting .273 and .279 respectively.
While his numbers aren’t going to wow you, he presents much more to the Orioles future than a 37-year-old. And with the Tigers being a team built to win now, this trade in the end does make some sense for both teams.
But I still think that the Orioles won this trade easily. Remember, Lombardozzi was the biggest name traded to Detroit when they traded Doug Fister to the Nationals.
What else this trade means is several things for players currently vying for a roster spot. Let’s face it, Ryan Flaherty is going to be on the roster. One would believe Lombardozzi will be too, even though he has minor league options. So that means Alexi Casillia, for one, is likely gone. Jonathan Schoop is likely headed to AAA, which will allow him to prove his spring training after bulking up is no fluke.
Jemile Weeks will probably also be headed to AAA Norfolk, while Michael Almanzar likely is headed to back to the Red Sox, unless the Orioles can work out a trade. And I think that is a high possibility, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it is Weeks who goes to the Red Sox.