Thursday, December 6, 2012
Logo Card, 1996 Fleer Orioles #19
Billy Butler: Yes, I've forgiven Kansas City's burly slugger for ruining Brad Bergesen's career with that heat-seeking line drive back in 2009. It's hard to resent anyone who's stuck playing for the Royals, especially when his nickname is "Country Breakfast". K.C. is desperately shopping for an established starting pitcher, and rumor has it that the Birds are interested in both Butler and young first baseman Eric Hosmer. The O's probably wouldn't part with veterans Jason Hammel and/or Wei-Yin Chen, and the only other starters they've got with even a season's worth of solid performance are Chris Tillman and Zach Britton. There's not really a good trade match here, but at least there's some indication that the Orioles have good taste in middle-of-the-lineup hitters. It's my fantasy, and it features Country Breakfast DH'ing and batting cleanup for the hometown team and maybe replicating the .313/.373/.510 batting line he produced in 2012, along with those career-high 29 home runs. I'm fairly sure that he'd be worth the defensive downgrade that would come from moving Chris Davis back to first base.
Brandon McCarthy: The O's haven't been linked to the free agent starting pitcher, who put up a 3.29 ERA (121 ERA+) over the past two seasons in Oakland. But Dan Duquette claims that he's looking for another veteran starter. McCarthy seems like a talented, entertaining guy (if you're on Twitter and don't follow him, you're missing out), and his recovery from brain surgery after taking a line drive to the head late last year was inspirational.
R. A. Dickey: This is the super long shot. The reigning N. L. Cy Young winner is only signed through 2013 for a bargain price of $5 million, and the Mets haven't made much progress in extension talks. They've been letting other teams know that the 38-year-old "power knuckleballer" can be had for two top prospects, preferably a catcher and an outfielder. That's not going to hack it for the Orioles, who have a bare cupboard behind the plate and no outfielders better than fourth-OF types Xavier Avery and LJ Hoes. Still, Baltimore is thought to have at least checked in with the Mets about Dickey, which is all of the license I need to imagine the Tolkien-loving, mountain-climbing, book-writing All-Star taking the ball from Buck Showalter every fifth day. 20-6, 2.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 230 strikeouts? And despite his age, Robert Allen's got time on his side. His mentors (Phil Niekro, Tim Wakefield, et. al.) pitched effectively well into their forties. I'd be willing to see if New York would take Jonathan Schoop and any two pitchers not named Dylan Bundy for Dickey. Of course, word has it that they're already asking for much more than that, so I'm starting to sound like a talk radio caller, I fear.
Hey, I've got to think warm thoughts. It's getting colder outside.