Rob Long: Wait And See
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As you know by now, the Baltimore Orioles traded Jim Johnson to the Oakland A’s for infielder Jemile Weeks. While Johnson compiled 101 saves over the past two seasons, Weeks struggled his way through 520 plate appearances over the same time span with only nine in 2013.
On the surface, this deal makes no sense if you’re looking at what the team got back in return. What we’ve heard is you can’t look at this deal on the surface. “We traded Jimmy for an infielder, Jemile Weeks, who is good on-base and he’s a good offensive player and he can play some other positions. And we’re going to take the money that would have funded Johnson’s $10 million and we’re going to go out and staff some other areas of our ballclub”, according to Oriole executive vice president Dan Duquette when he was interviewed on MASN.
This deal is as much about the money saved as it is about the player you gain in return and that’s what concerns the Oriole’s fanbase. The fans are looking at the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox and want their team to reflect what those teams do. It’s only natural for them to look at that because those teams have won multiple championships in recent history and those teams are in the Orioles division.
Whether the Birds are in the same financial “ballpark” as the Yankees and Bosox is not relevant to fans. They are in the same division. I hear from fans all of the time and they aren’t comfortable with their baseball team talking about letting players go in order to pay for other players. It’s reality but fans don’t want to hear it.
In the eyes of the fans, baseball has no salary cap so you can spend as much as you want. You don’t have to “make room” for players because there is unlimited “room” to sign. The trust however suggests that even the Yankees make financial decisions on who to keep.
Duquette doesn’t want to be judged on just this deal though. “I think when you take a look at the trade, you have to take a look at some of the other people that we will sign here in the next couple weeks to fill out our roster in order to properly evaluate the trade.”
That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to sit back and wait to see if this team will put other moves together. They have needs and serious ones. Let’s see if they address these issues with serious solutions.