Orioles Could Get Pie, With Cubs the Big Winner
Last year, the Orioles made it clear that they were very high on Cubs center field prospect Felix Pie, a phenomenal athlete who spent 2008 in Chicago bouncing between starts at various outfield positions and, more often, sitting on the bench. Despite his talent, the Cubs have clearly grown weary with waiting on Pie to deliver on his enormous potential. The Orioles, meanwhile, have made it clear they'd be more than happy to give Pie the patience he needs.
Well, now Baltimore may have found a way to give Pie that chance, and they wouldn't even have to give up second baseman Brian Roberts, the man Chicago ticketed a year ago, to get him.
According to reports in the Baltimore Sun and, more recently, with FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Orioles are the third team needed to bridge a potential trade of Padres ace Jake Peavy to the Cubs. Padres GM Kevin Towers first admitted that the teams had found a third potential trading partner to bridge their financial and prospect gap last Wednesday night to Yahoo!'s Tim Brown. No one put the puzzle pieces together and realized that third team was the Orioles until the Sun's report on Saturday night.
Clearly the Orioles wouldn't land Pie without giving something up on their end, and the man they'd ship, starting pitcher Garrett Olsen, would leave Baltimore's rotation even more bare than it already is. Still, Olsen -- likely combined with a pair of prospects from the Cubs system -- would be enough of a package for Chicago to land Peavy, the gem of the starting pitchers on the trade market. That's a coup for the Cubs and, in the long run, it could be a big coup for the Orioles, too. Adding Pie would give Baltimore one of the youngest outfields in the major leagues ... and one stocked with as much natural talent as just about any other out there. With Adam Jones showing flashes of super stardom and Nick Markakis providing more power sooner than probably could have been expected, the Orioles really could build a trifecta of starting outfielders to last a generation.
Of course, that's exactly the allure that Baltimore is probably behind in angling to add Pie. Still, the pot could get sweeter, if the Orioles are willing to pay the freight. If the Cubs add Peavy, the odd man out in their rotation is Jason Marquis. The former Cardinals starter, 11-9 in 2008, would be a requisite salary dump for the Cubs, who'd be adding significant payroll in Peavy all while waiting for a new owner to emerge in the coming months. That ownership instability means that Cubs GM Jim Hendry has to keep his team's payroll pretty static, so Marquis will be ticketed for the offing, whether manager Lou Pinella wants him gone or not.
So why don't the Orioles just offer to pick up Marquis, too? Sure, maybe they'd have to throw a low-mid level prospect Chicago's way to help make up the talent difference. Maybe they can even add a prospect and save the Cubs one of their chips to help close the deal in the first place. Either way, the Orioles would get a more tested starter to replace Olsen, the Cubs would get Peavy and the Padres would get a crop of prospects. Everybody wins.
Will the deal go down that way? Probably not. It's just too simple. Still, there's a chance, and if these three GMs have been smart enough to target each other to bridge a significant gap, then maybe we finally will see a mutually beneficial trade in which all three parties get exactly what they want. After all, we can always dream.
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