SPECULATING ON O's/IKE TALKS
Before I get into the meat of this essay let me make it clear that this is NOT a Di-Jest article and it's not intended to be humorous. If it comes out funny then my bad.
The internet, especially Twitter, is buzzing that the Orioles are on the verge of making either a trade or a free agent acquisition. Specifically they are said to be "checking the physicals" on a player.
Let's review what we know and then speculate.
Baltimore wants to upgrade at firstbase and their GM has had discussions with Mets' GM Sandy Alderson about Ike Davis.
There are a number of non-Ike ways for the O's to improve at that position. They might be trading with Firstbasemen-R'-Us, aka the Seattle Mariners. Perhaps the acquisition will be Justin Smoak.
Maybe they are talking to Texas and will be bringing in Mitch Moreland who was kicked to the curb when the Rangers acquired the Prince of Fielders.
In the free agent department it could be that the O's are willing to lose a draft pick and sign Kendrys Morales.
But for our discussion let's pretend that we know that it is Ike Davis that is heading south.
We all know (all too well) that Alderson has been trying to secure a young pitching arm for Ike and that all the teams, including the Orioles, have thus far refused to part with anyone they consider top notch. It could be the case that the O's have relented and that'll be that.
But I think not.
So what else could it be?
Here are two swaps that could possibly be feasible.
#1 Mets trade Ike Davis + Daniel Murphy to Orioles for J.J. Hardy
WHY FOR THE METS - If Sandy really wants to upgrade shortstop but doesn't care to lose a draft pick and pay Stephen Drew the $10 to $15 million per year that it might take then this idea could be inviting. Hardy plugs in at SS for this year and 2015. His salary is a more affordable $7 million annually and remember the O's would be taking Murph's 5 and Ike's 3.4. The Mets then would let Eric Young Jr. and Wilmer Flores battle it out during spring training for the 2B job.
WHY FOR THE ORIOLES - The best reason I could give would be that the 2-for-1 would open the SS position up for Manny Machado. That is his natural position and, if he's healthy - a huge IF - he could become one of the top three shortstops in the entire sport. Murphy could be used at 3B or 2B for Baltimore while Ike is their 1B upgrade (of sorts).
The truth is that I tend to doubt that the Orioles would make a gamble like this because Machado is coming off a serious knee injury. Would they really be willing to gamble that he'll be ready on opening day to play that most pivotal defensive position?
The next deal is a variation of #1
#2 Mets trade Ike Davis + Wilmer Flores to Orioles for J.J. Hardy
WHY FOR THE METS - This keeps Murphy on 2B for the Mets and rids them of a young player with a high ceiling but no known position. If Wilmer can handle 3B he could do so for the Orioles but he'd never supplant David Wright in NY. In this transaction the Mets end up losing some money but still come out ahead over a Stephen Drew signing.
WHY FOR THE ORIOLES - If Baltimore scouts see a 20 to 30 HR potential in Flores they might be willing to gamble on his ability to play the hot corner. The same problem though is that Baltimore might not be willing to turn SS over to Machado just yet.
It sounds like we may know what the Birds are doing before the weekend is out. So while we're dealing with this winter storm we can sit around the Hot Stove and help Alderson and crew improve the team.