A homecoming for 2 former Orioles.
|By Keith Allison [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr|
It was 3-4 days ago that Braves fans received word that Jim Johnson and R.A. Dickey were placed on revocable waivers. While they’re likely not the only players that were placed on revocable waivers, those were the 2 that made it to the mainstream media. My guess, there are at least 3 more guys that the Braves pushed out there but weren’t comfortable in letting the news leak to their fan-base (Matt Kemp, Brandon Phillips, Nick Markakis).
For those not in the know, if a player(s) is claimed on revocable waivers, the 2 teams have 48 hours to work out a deal, and the deal could be as simple as allowing the other team take the full value of the contract(s). If a deal cannot be worked out, then the team that placed said player(s) on revocable waivers pulls the player(s) back and said player(s) have to remain with the team for the rest of the season.
I’ve been scouring the MLB standings looking for matches in a deal for some of the Braves more expensive veterans. Make no mistake, these are tricky and, for the most part, pipedreams. However, I think I might have stumbled upon a great match. The Orioles, even with a starting pitching ERA that nears 6 and is 29th in all of baseball, remain only 2.5 games out of the Wild Card. The writing’s on the proverbial wall for this team and it may be their last time to contend for the foreseeable future. But nonetheless, they are in the thick of it. While they’re likely not in a position to make big moves as their farm is very weak and they’d need to keep any MLB talent around through this season, they could look for small boosts to aid in their push to Wild Card berth. And it just so happens that the Braves could aid in giving that push.
|By Keith Allison [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons|
Both Jim Johnson and Nick Markakis have a long-running history with the Orioles. Jim played with them from 2006-2013, taking on the full-time closer role in 2012 and had 50 and 51 save seasons in ‘12 and ‘13. Nick Markakis was the beloved right-fielder for the O’s from 2006-2014, doing very much the same as he’s done for the Braves with the exception that he was younger and about 10-15% better in all facets of his game. They were both well-liked in the clubhouse and many faces from their time there are still in-house and would welcome them back. There are tricks to this as both guys are under contract for 2018. While Jim still has some perceived value in a reliever’s role, Markakis is pretty much shot and is playing at a replacement level. The positive is that the guys the O’s are running out there in LF are playing at the level of a leper. Yes…it’s been bad. But the Braves aren’t going to get the Orioles to pay the entire contracts of both players without taking a hit themselves…no sirree. To do a deal like this, the Braves will have to take something back, and that’s where we turn to Ubaldo Jimenez.
Jimenez, who once threw a no-hitter against the Braves when he was slinging for the Rockies, has been downright putrid in an Orioles uniform and has posted a 6.31 ERA this year, is owed 13.5MM for the 2017 season, but is a free agent in 2018. I feel like the Orioles would be happy to wash their hands of Ubaldo and welcome back 2 guys that they know and love.
So, here’s the deal:
Braves get Ubaldo Jimenez, Chance Sisco
Orioles get R.A. Dickey, Nick Markakis, Jim Johnson, and 3MM
Considering the Braves would be taking 4.25MM of Ubaldo’s salary and the Orioles would be taking on 7.5MM for 2017, the 3MM is there to offset the cost. In return, the Braves get a prospect that has somewhat fallen from grace that can head to AAA and try to recapture the magic that made him one of the game’s best catching prospects. I’ve not talked about Dickey going until the proposed deal, but he makes a lot of sense for them. There are guys in their rotation that are underachieving and throwing a knuckleballer right in the midst could be the boost that’s needed to make them successful.
This is only 1 of many ways that the Braves could look to in dealing veterans, but if they wait too long or til offseason, the chances of making a deal without eating a HUGE chunk of cash becomes less and less. What say you? Would you alter it? Got another idea? Let’s hear from the peanut gallery!