Just thinking out loud

Trading for Kevin Millwood would give the Orioles a top-of-the-rotation starter for 2010. But for how long?

If you’re pondering which pitching prospect (say that three times fast) should be sent to Texas in the deal, you must also consider that the Orioles could flip Millwood to another team at the non-waiver trade deadline, making him a half-year rental.

The hope, of course, is he would bring prospects in return.

The bigger hope is the Orioles are contending and they need him for the stretch run, but I don’t like those odds.

If Millwood is a big winner for them, he becomes a bigger winner on the open market next winter. And his agent is Scott Boras.

In other words, I don’t see this as being a long-term relationship. They shouldn’t buy a house together and start researching school systems.

The trick is determining which pitchers are deemed second-tier in the Orioles’ system. We don’t have a binder with charts and graphs.

You can forget about Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman. Zach Britton also is held in extremely high regard, and player development would probably go on strike if he was dealt. And you don’t swap Jake Arrieta straight-up for Millwood.

David Hernandez might project as a reliever down the road and he sounds more logical, though you always worry about surrendering a power arm. Jason Berken most certainly qualifies, which isn’t a slam. In past years, when the farm system routinely ranked near or at the bottom in baseball, he would have been regarded as a jewel.

John Stephens comes to mind. I’m sure you can name many more.

Most important, the Rangers want salary relief. At the same time, they’re claiming that they don’t need to give away Millwood. They’ll want something substantial in return.

For the Orioles, “substantial” has its limits.

Quick side note, be sure to check out all our exclusive O’s-related video from the Winter Meetings in our Media Lounge.

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