Friday, November 29, 2013

Trade Proposal

There's a trade proposal that's been bouncing around my head for quite some time now. The Baltimore Orioles have said they want to shed payroll and are open to trading both closer Jim Johnson and catcher Matt Wieters. The Red Sox don't need a closer but a catcher like Matt Wieters would certainly be worth exploring.

I know the odds are slim that the Orioles would make a trade to improve a division rival but there has been precedent. Most notably in my mind was the Mike Boddicker trade that sent Curt Schilling and Brady Anderson to the Orioles. It could happen again and I keep thinking this could be a trade could make sense for both teams.

Matt Wieters would be a great fit for the Red Sox. He has two years left before free agency which would be the perfect amount of time for Boston before one of its two stud catching prospects (Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez) are ready to take the reins. David Ross is only really good for 60 games per year and he's only signed for one more year. Wieters could come in and have a relaxing year for him (he led the AL in games caught last year) and the next year he could mentor Swihart or Vazquez as one of them back him up in his year heading into free agency.

Wieters is perhaps the best defensive catcher in the AL (Gold Gloves in 2011 and 2012). He's hit more than 20 HR in three straight years. He'd be an upgrade over Jarrod Saltalamcchia and salary wise - he would be cheaper with arbitration probably getting Wieters $8.5 million next year and maybe $10.5 in 2015. Salty's probably going to get a 3-year $30 million deal at the least in free agency.

What would be in it for Baltimore? I'd suggest trading catcher Ryan Lavarnway who right now is probably going to catch the majority of the games next year but who would be extraneous with the arrival of Wieters and starter Felix Dubront. Both players are just 26 and both under team control for at least another 4 years. Dubront could be the 3rd starter right away for the Orioles and Lavarnway could be their starting backstop. Both are also very cheap and the two in exchange for Wieters would save Baltimore more than $10 million in 2014 alone when you factor in what a starting pitcher is going for in the free agency market.

It should also be noted that Wieters agent is Scott Boras - so Baltimore knows they are probably going to lose him to free agency anyway. Why not trade him now and get more than just a draft pick for him (especially now when they could use salary relief)?

A deal worth thinking about.

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