Stop Huffing and Trade Aubrey Huff…
Ok, Ok, the Baltimore Orioles do not have to trade Aubrey Huff right now, but before the season would probably be better. The problem the Orioles face, and no other team has the same problem, is that the Orioles are the fifth best team in the best division in baseball. So modeling their team after the Rays is their best bet, by far, for future success. Signing a Mark Teixeira would have given them more of a Blue Jays model, trying to spend with the biggest spenders. Had they signed Teixeira they would have been better, and they could still build and hope to win in 2011 or so, as Tex would still be there. But not signing Tex, even more so for the Orioles, isn’t a big deal. As for Huff, he almost has to go, right? Aubrey Huff is a 31 year old who has just had his best season since he was 26. Seems to me that the best time to trade him would be now. His OPS+ of 135 is the second best of his career, behind only that of a 145 in 2003.
Are the Orioles a better team with Huff? Sure are. But it seems to me that they need to get as many quality prospects as possible, and hope they churn out some good ones. I am not suggesting trading away Nick Markakis, keeping him makes sense, as he is very good, only 24, and should be locked up for a while if possible, at a reasonable price. The Orioles contain a heck of an offensive core with Adam Jones, Matt Weiters and Nick Markakis. A heck of an offensive core for the future that is. Weiters should be an awesome all around backstop, but he needs time to develop some more. Jones should be a good CF, but is still young and may have some more struggles to go along with his 2008 campaign. Markakis, as mentioned, is good already.
The Orioles are probably not going to extend any kind of significant offer to Aubrey Huff. I could see them locking him up for a few years if he is not blocking anyone, but anymore than two doesn’t seem to make much sense. So I suggest that he be traded, to try and get something to win with in the future, something young, cheap, and having good quality. Pitching would be logical, maybe a once promising prospect who has talent but maybe his stock is low, something like that. And since Melvin Mora and Brian Roberts are under contract only through 2009, with Mora having a 2010 club option, they should explore the possibilities of trading them too. Roberts could stick around and be moved by the deadline, because performance with him isn’t so risky, but Huff, although good, will most likely perform at least a little worse this year.
The Orioles had a number 3 starter as their number 1 starter in 2008, and he is a free agent now. So let us just say that there is definitely room for a few starters in that rotation.