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So Much for the O's: Greene Headed to St. Louis

Well, that's what you get for being optimistic about Baltimore making a move: Just when it looks like things are lining up for the Orioles to land a shortstop, someone else swoops in and pulls the trigger before they do.

The New York Post's Joel Sherman, who has been ahead of everyone else on this furiously paced Khalil Greene trade, is now reporting that Greene will be traded to the Cardinals. There's no word yet about which prospects St. Louis will send back to get Greene, but rumors among trickling out on the internets are that the haul will be two relief prospects.

Losing out on Greene has to hurt for the Orioles, although this proves, once again, that they're not willing to move off from their original valuation of their own players and prospects. Say what you will -- and there's plenty to talk about when it comes to the Orioles overvaluing their farm-raised talent -- but this means that the Padres asked for Olson, the Orioles said no. The Padres probably asked for Olson again, the Orioles again said no. As a result, Greene's going to be a Cardinal.

Of course, there's another upshot from this move: It means that Cesar Izturis won't be back in St. Louis. Izturis was allegedly the Orioles' top shortstop target the entire time, though his agents will certainly take note of Baltimore's inability to land Greene and play up the fact that O's have no solution for short whatsoever.

Izturis is a year younger than Greene and he hit for a better average, .263, in 2008. He has no power -- well, with only one homer last year, he has almost no power -- but he's a lifetime .260 hitter, so he's nothing if not consistent. He also has a Gold Glove (2004) and All-Star appearance (2005) to his credit, something that Izturis' representatives will certainly point out.

Of course, the Orioles could make an even bigger splash at the position, but that would require making a play of more sizable financial stature than they're accustomed to (premier splashes like Albert Belle, Miguel Tejada and Javy Lopez aside ... and we all know how those last two worked out). But that may be a lot harder within the next couple days as Edgar Renteria wraps up the loose strings on a deal with the Giants and, as a handful of reporters have noted, Orlando Cabrera considers accepting the arbitration offered him by the White Sox. If those two dominoes do fall into place, that would leave just Rafael Furcal ahead of Izturis when it comes to hotshot names at the infield 6 spot, and that would only make Izturis that much more expensive, or so it would seem.

Thoughts? Is this just another stomach punch to O's fans, or are they actually relieved not to get Greene?

By Cameron Smith  |  December 4, 2008; 12:28 AM ET
Categories:  Cardinals , Orioles , Padres  
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Next: Renteria In; Burriss Out?


There are a couple of interesting things about this entire story. First, why wouldn't the Orioles give up Olson? He's looked awful in parts of the last two season. the Orioles continue to overvalue their organization's pitching depth. There simply isn't much there for them to choose from. Dumping Olson really wouldn't have hurt them because there's no guarantee this guy is in the rotation come April. (But with the Orioles pitching, you never know.) Second, why did the Padres want Olson from the Orioles but reportedly just two relief pitching prospects from the Cardinals. Their requests to each team seem a little off balance. While I don't think Olson is that hot a commodity, he does have a starter's arm, which means he should be valued more than two relief prospects. But I can't say I'm THAT disappointed. Greene has an abysmal year last season, and while he's an improvement defensively, he could wind up being an offensive liability, just like every SS the Orioles trotted out to the middle of the diamond last year. (It's better for Greene that he winds up in St. Loius, anyway, because the Cards always get the most out of the least. I would bet some cash that he'll do much better in St. Louis this year than he would do in Baltimore.)

Posted by: CDon | December 4, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

CDon - Olson is no great shakes, but Greene isn't either and would be a 1 year stop gap until . . . ? Greene basically is a very good glove with one offensive skill (power). Juan Uribe can give you that, cost less for 1-2 years, and may even hit for a better average and play 2d and 3d, and Olson could still go in a deal to get Pie. Pie is always a good option (the food, if not the player).

Izturis would be a longer commitment. His OBP is pathetic (.299 career) with no slugging, so it would be a commitment to a black hole in the line up. Adam Everett, Nick Punto, and Alex Cora might be other, cheaper options as FAs. Nicky actually had two decent offensive years out of the last three ('06 - .290 / .352 / .373, '08 - .284 / .344 / .382) and is good for double digit steals. He's 3 years older than Izturis.

Cameron - don't forget Detroit in the list of SS vacancies.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 4, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

As an avid O's fan from 1969 to 2004 and interested observer since 2005, this hardly qualifies as a stomach punch. However, I was previously gutted by Peter Angelos' incompetent ownership so even a punch to the stomach would have been an improvement. Greene is an average defender and would have been a slightly above avaerage offensive shortstop at Camden Yards. If they fail to sign Itsuris, then look for Felipe Lopez to be signed.

Posted by: natbisquit | December 4, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Cross Jack Wilson off the SS list. Reports have him headed from Pittsburgh to Detroit

Posted by: Brian_ | December 4, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

That's probably more reasonable than Julio Lugo, who was supposed to be going to Detroit for Willis or Robertson. But they still have Willis and Robertson.

It does seem that SS backfills (other than Furcal whereever and Rentawreck in SF) will come via trades rather than FA moves. The Angels have the better Izturis and an Aybar if they ever decide to give the job to Brandon Wood. Think the Os would like Erick Aybar and Ervin Santana instead of Luke Scott, Troy Patton, Matt Albers, and some other things for Tejada?

Actually, A-Gon might not be a bad fit up the Parkway. He has a major league glove, and makes the major league minimum. The Nats have A-Hern (and Desmond) as a back up glove man up the middle, Guz signed for 2 years, and a platoon I've wanted to see at 2d - SuperWillie and Belli.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 4, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

The Orioles would have been IDIOTS to trade Olson for Greene! Even if the Orioles do decide to trade Olson, they can do much better than Greene for him. There are plenty of teams out there that would value Olson higher than that.

Posted by: virtueandvice | December 4, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

An aside - re: the FA signings mentioned at the end of the post, Tejada was a success. He delivered exactly as promised (offensively at least). The problem was that the rest of the team still stunk.

Posted by: utec | December 5, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

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