The Chicago Cubs have been the subject of several MLB rumors this season because they are one of the few teams that know they will be sellers right now. The expanded playoff format has several teams reluctant to part with significant talent because they feel they might still be in the race. This puts the Cubs in a unique position.
The Cubs have two of the most coveted pitchers on the market in Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. They also have an untradeable contract in outfielder Alfonso Soriano. GM Theo Epstein might have to get creative with how he makes his moves at the deadline so he can achieve greater financial flexibility moving forward.
One team that has a legitimate shot at the playoffs is the Baltimore Orioles who have not made a playoff appearance since 1997. The Orioles have shown a willingness to spend in recent years as they reportedly opened the wallet in an attempt to sign hometown kid Mark Teixeira who eventually spurned the Orioles for the New York Yankees.
Right now the Orioles sit 9 games behind the AL East leading Yankees. However, they find themselves in a tight race for one of the two Wild Card spots, sitting only a half-game behind the Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers but tied with the Cleveland Indians and Oakland Athletics. The Orioles need to do something that will distance themselves from the rest of the pack and the Chicago Cubs might just have the answer.
The Orioles badly need a pitcher. The Cubs have two. The Orioles should pursue Ryan Dempster with vigor and take on the terrible contract of Alfonso Soriano to lessen the amount of prospects they would have to give up in return. Dempster is going to cost less in terms of prospects than Garza because Dempster is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the year. Soriano still has a couple of years left on his deal after this and is owed $18 million per year until the end of the 2014 season. The Orioles could use a little offensive lift and if they have to overpay for it from Soriano while getting back Dempster so be it. Dempster would instantly step in as Baltimore’s ace and would give them a proven arm to place at the top of the rotation if they indeed do make the playoffs.
Soriano, on the other hand, actually has very good numbers as a designated hitter in his career, hitting .357 with 7 home runs and 19 RBI in 70 at-bats with a 1.135 OPS. He is not the same player he once was and he will be 38 in 2014. However, the Orioles could use any help they can get and if taking on Soriano’s contract means they have to give up less in return for Dempster they should jump at the chance.