Having lived in the greater Baltimore area for 25 years, it's almost a daily occurrence that someone in public asks me about the Orioles' situation, sometimes as it relates to the Nationals. I should point out here that, despite what you may think, there are a number of folks up this way who root for both teams. They see it as the best of both worlds: most every night from April through September, there's a major league baseball game within an hour's drive.
Anyway, at lunch today with a broadcasting pal (not a sportscaster), I was asked what the odds were that Adam Dunn would end up with the Orioles. I responded that Dunn had stated many times he didn't want to play in the AL for fear that he'd end up a full-time DH.
In his words, "I didn't choose baseball to be on the field for only 10 minutes during the game."
But, my friend asked, what if the Orioles guaranteed Dunn in writing that he'd get 100+ starts at first base? My response to that was that I couldn't imagine the Orioles, or any team, guaranteeing that type of thing contractually. Paint a manager into a corner with his defense? I'd be absolutely stunned.
The conversation then turned to Ryan Zimmerman. What would it take, began the question, to get the Z-Man into black-and-orange? Would the Nats trade him for Adam Jones?
No, not unless Jones was simply part of a multiple player package going to Washington that also included left-hander Brian Matusz, and at least one more high ceiling prospect - and I don't mean Josh Bell.
In the hypothetical world, making blockbuster deals is easy, but in reality, they rarely occur anymore. Personally, I wouldn't trade Zimmerman at all, but particularly not in the absence of Stephen Strasburg in 2011. Zim is the clear face of this franchise and will be for years to come. I question whether a starting pitcher - someone who plays every fifth day - can really be a "face."
The biggest deal ever between Washington and Baltimore may well be the one that took place on February 18, 1954, when the AL Nats traded outfielder Gil Coan to the Orioles for Roy Sievers. Roy, who'd been the 1949 AL Rookie-of-the-Year with the Browns, had suffered a shoulder separation, and subsequent surgery left him with a pin in his shoulder. Orioles' manager Jimmie Dykes was sure he wouldn't be able to throw effectively and shipped him out.
All Roy did between 1954-1959 was hit 180 home runs. He led the league in HR & RBI in 1957 when he batted .301. He made three All-Star teams and had two top ten finishes in MVP voting in a Washington uniform. He played in the majors until 1965. Coan played 155 games for the Orioles over two seasons with 3 home runs and 31 RBI. His career ended in 1956.
Roy, by the way, will be in town this weekend at a big sports collectibles show at the Dulles Expo Center on Saturday and Sunday. He's among a group of about 10 old Nats/Senators who will be signing autographs to benefit the Breast Cancer Fund. There will also be a lot of old Bullets, Redskins, Heisman winners and Hall of Famers on hand. For more information check out www.csashows.com .