Which key Baltimore Oriole could be on the trade block?


Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

As more free agents sign contracts for 2014 and beyond, the hopes of Orioles fans to make a splash with a big free agent signing decreases.  Don’t dismay, there is the chance that a trade could help bring some key pieces to the Birds.

However, to get something, you have to give up something.  In my opinion, there are three Orioles that would make the most sense to be traded.

Matt Wieters – C

I’ve already profiled here how Wieters is one of the best catchers in the game, and is currently the best in the AL East.  He may not be the hitter some envisioned, but his defense and bat combined puts him at the top of the list of the most important catchers.  So why would the Orioles trade him?

Well, first he has Scott Boras as an agent.  He is arbitration eligible after the 2014 season wraps up, and the Orioles may not have the money to offer him what he will be worth, especially when looking at the contract Brian McCann got from the Yankees.  In addition to finances, Wieters had his worst season as a pro in 2013, yet his reputation will ensure the Orioles can still get a good return.

Wieters was discussed on a ESPN Insider post with ESPN’s Jim Bowden, who offered up the following five trade proposals for Wieters, as it appeared on the MASN School of Roch page:

Jim Johnson – RP

Jim Johnson has been arguably the best closer in the game over the past two years.  He has the most saves, despite the high number of losses in 2013.  Johnson also has experience as a starter and is not strictly a one-inning closer.

Johnson as well is set to make a lot of money in arbitration, although he will cash in this year.  Plus, if the Orioles are still three or four pieces away from a legitimate World Series contender, they can’t tie up almost $10 million in paying a closer.

Brian Matusz – RP

As a first-round draft pick, Matusz hasn’t lived up to expectations.  Now as a lefty specialist, he has shown his worth to get some of the stars of the game out, including the way he owns David Ortiz.  Matusz is also arbitration eligible after the 2014 season, but for him, the question is what makes him a great trade chip.

First, some teams that don’t need a lot of pieces would be more than willing to add a guy who can be a lefty specialist, or a multiple inning guy.  Let’s face it; some teams think that Matusz just needs a change of scenery.  Maybe the right pitching coach could make him an effective starter.

Another factor that makes Johnson and Matusz prime trade chips is the fact that the Orioles have already discussed retooling their relief pitching.  Out of all of the pieces, these two would bring in the most.

Which of these three players do you think it makes the most sense to trade, and who do you want to see the Orioles get in return?