Why Baltimore Orioles Should Trade for Christian Yelich or Josh Harrison

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 19: Christian Yelich
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 19: Christian Yelich /

As FanFest nears, Baltimore Orioles trade rumors are beginning to take shape once again after a quiet month.

The Baltimore Orioles, as well as much of Major League Baseball, are in the middle of one of the quietest offseasons since free agency started.

At this point, no one knows what the first move will be. Will it be Yu Darvish? Maybe JD Martinez The Baltimore Orioles, however, are in a position where they need to make a move.

Sure, they have been in a position all offseason where they have needed to make a move. Namely, signing at least one (and ideally two or three) starting pitchers. But now, Orioles’ Fanfest is just three days away.

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Another option is do nothing and continue to finish near the bottom of the American League East. But what generates interest in a team like having absolutely no improvements on a team that finished last place in the AL East?

Maybe, you could say that no longer having Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley or Jeremy Hellickson on the roster is addition by subtraction. Possibly you think Chris Tillman‘s arm is done, and not having him will benefit the team. You still need two more rotation pieces.

But, the pitching market is stagnant, and trading for a major league ready starting pitcher is a difficult task when you don’t want to give anything up.

A potential veteran catcher move also isn’t going to move the meter, unless it is a player like Jonathan Lucroy. But, I want to consider two trade options here. Neither are going to be cheap necessarily, but both would move the meter, and also be essential moves.

The first is for Josh Harrison.

Now, Harrison wouldn’t be cheap. He has three years left on his deal, although there are team buyouts for the second and third year. But, that is what makes him a possibility here, as the Pirates are in no position to keep him.

The Pirates are selling, shown by trading Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole. Harrison wants out of town and wants to contend. Now, Baltimore isn’t the best option to go if you’re going to contend for a World Series title.

As the all-around utility player, with experience at second base, third base, the outfield, and shortstop. He hasn’t had many games at shortstop, but he has played there. So, if the Orioles want to move Manny Machado to shortstop (it seems Buck Showalter wants to announce where Manny will play on Saturday), Harrison would be a logical fit at third base. This would move Tim Beckham to the outfield.

Or, Harrison could play the outfield and Beckham could play third base, but I think the team would be better defensively with Harrison at third base. And, Buck Showalter has recently commented to MASNSports’ Roch Kubatko about the need for the Birds to be better defensively.

The Pirates would likely want young pitching back in the deal, something the Orioles should not be willing to give up. Ideally, the Orioles would be looking for a left-handed hitter, which Harrison is not. But, you never know what could happen when two desperate teams link up.

But, there is a left-handed hitter who also could be available.

His name is Christian Yelich.

Yelich is another player who doesn’t want to be on a sinking ship, which the Marlins are more of than the Pirates.

Many benefits come with acquiring Yelich. He’s four years younger than Harrison, under contract for longer, and indeed plays a position of need for the Orioles, the outfield.

Yelich has traditionally been a left fielder, but that may be as much because of having Marcell Ozuna in center fielder. Yelich could play center, moving Adam Jones to right field.

Compared to the rest of the Orioles, Yelich is an on-base machine. His career on-base percentage is .369, and he has never had a season with an OBP below .362. That’s quite good.

Yelich has five more years on his deal, with the last year featuring a team option. However, he would also be a piece for the team to build around.

What would the Marlins want? Cheap, controllable players. Maybe guys like D.J. Stewart, Austin Hays, or Cedric Mullins, which would be possible if you have Yelich. Would you rather have Hays or a proven Yelich? I know my answer.

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They also would want to pitch. For the past several years, the Orioles have targeted pitchers in the MLB draft including Cody Sedlock, Keegan Akin and D.L. Hall. While I don’t recommend trading them, if you are getting Yelich it would lessen the sting.

If the Baltimore Orioles are serious about making a significant move before Sunday, going the free agent route may not work. But, that doesn’t mean the Birds can’t find a shiny new egg for in the nest.