Baltimore Orioles slashing payroll, look to deal closer Jim Johnson

  • David Whitlock

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 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).

Johnson would fit in any team's bullpen, but how much can the O's get in return? (Credit: AP)

Johnson would fit in any team’s bullpen, but how much can the O’s get in return?
(Credit: AP)

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

H/T Mike Axisa of CBS Eye on Baseball

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Report: Orioles willing to trade Matt Wieters
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Orioles manager Buck Showalter predicts own catcher will sign with Yankees

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David Whitlock

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David (a.k.a. Longhorndave or lhd_on_sports) joined the staff late in the 2012 season and moved to Site Manager in early 2013. A lifelong Houston Astros fan (and mini-season ticket holder for 9 years) he attends 20+ games per year. A statistics freak, David still keeps score the "old fashioned way" on occasion (and has kept manual score of World Series games since 1986 and retains the sheets). He was a featured guest weekly on the Phil Naessens Show. He is also a Texas Longhorns alumnus and huge football and baseball fan of his alma mater. When he isn't watching or writing about baseball, he works as a contractor at NASA Johnson Space Center. He lives by the mantra "a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day anywhere else."

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