Baltimore Orioles slashing payroll, look to deal closer Jim Johnson
The Baltimore Orioles have enjoyed a bump in success on the field over the past two seasons, but may not have the payroll to keep their talent together. In addition to speculation that franchise cornerstone catcher Matt Wieters will likely be dealt (as he nears free agency), ESPN Senior Baseball Writer Buster Olney tweets that the Birds are looking to move All-Star closer Jim Johnson sooner than later:
The Orioles say they are willing to listen to offers for closer Jim Johnson, who is set to make more than $10m in arbitration in ’14.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 27, 2013
The Orioles problem will likely be that closers usually don’t fetch much trade interest in the winter, due to a year-to-year crop of free agents that are out there without having to give up players. The more likely scenario would be that the Orioles are out of contention in late July 2014 and then would have a number of contenders in desperate need for bullpen help. However, not often do you get a chance to land a closer with 50 saves in back-to-back seasons (led the league in 2012 and 2013).
Unfortunately for Baltimore fans, it looks like their team may look a lot more like the Tampa Bay Rays than the Boston Red Sox. That being, they’ll have to keep finding innovative ways to find bargain talent to compete for titles, rather than raid the free agent market every winter to restock. It can be done, but Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette has his work cut out for him.
– David Whitlock
Report: Orioles willing to trade Matt Wieters
VIDEO: Buck Showalter charges Yankees dugout and confronts Joe Girardi
Orioles manager Buck Showalter predicts own catcher will sign with Yankees