It’s really not a surprise that, according to major-league sources, the Orioles are willing to trade catcher Matt Wieters. The bigger question is how the team would reshape its roster if it made such a dramatic — and necessary — move. The Orioles’ Opening Day payroll last season was $92.3 million, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. Their commitments for 2014, if they retained all nine arbitration-eligible players, would amount to about $88 million. In other words, the team will be under financial pressure unless owner Peter Angelos significantly increases the payroll. What’s more, the clock is ticking on Wieters and first baseman Chris Davis, both of whom are represented by Scott Boras and under club control for two more years. Few Boras clients sign extensions before reaching free agency — Boras prefers his players to determine their values on the open market. Wieters already has rejected long-term offers from the club, and a person in contact with the Orioles said Wednesday, “They’re not going to wait (on him) forever.” Davis, who led the majors with 53 homers last season, is too valuable to trade. Wieters is an elite defender, but his OPS declined from .778 to .764 to .704 over the past three seasons. The Orioles would not be trading him at his peak value. Then again, Wieters loses value every day he gets closer to free agency. His salary in arbitration next season projects to $7.9 million, according to Matt Swartz of MLBTradeRumors.com. The Orioles could gain flexibility by trading Wieters and also closer Jim Johnson, who projects to earn $10.8 million. The team then could find cheaper alternatives at both positions, and turn aggressive in free agency. It’s doubtful that the Orioles could properly address their biggest flaw, their lack of a top-of-the-rotation starter, in the open market; the choices are too risky. So why not seek a modestly priced starter and make a run at an elite offensive player such as Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo or even Robinson Cano?
Should O's trade catcher, closer?
Fox Sports | Nov 14