July 31 is rapidly approaching. Buy or Sell lets each team know where they stand.
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It's not an insignificant one. When you haven't finished with a winning record since 1997, giving your fans that gift, even if it comes in fourth place wrapping paper, is appreciated. You just can't go broke to get there, though. 2009, 2010 and beyond are the balls the Orioles must keep their eyes on or else they'll just start another cycle of chasing small returns without a plan for the future.
That doesn't mean they should sit out the trade market, however. If anything the Orioles should be both buyers and sellers. The team could use a shortstop and a starting pitcher and will need them next year as well. There have been rumors linking them to shortstops like David Eckstein, Juan Uribe and Felipe Lopez but those are exactly the types of players the team should be steering clear of today, tomorrow and forever.
The best way to be a buyer and a seller could be by moving Daniel Cabrera. His tantalizing stuff has crystallized into something resembling effective major league pitching this season and there may be someone out there who thinks they can take him to the next level. Such a trade could bring a younger shortstop than those above who would grow with the team as they become contenders.
Closer George Sherrill could also bring a smart return in the always desperate relief pitching market. Other veterans could be of interest to contenders, although the returns would be more modest. Those trades would be raising the white flag on a winning season, however. That's okay if you're making serious progress toward next season but you don't want to give the impression that you're holding a fire sale. Force people to blow you away with offers, not just the highest bid at an auction, and the Orioles will continue their upward ascent.