MacPhail on the Tatum decision & the trade market

O’s president Andy MacPhail made the decision this morning to option Craig Tatum to Triple-A to make roster room for Matt Wieters, who comes off the DL today.

A few minutes ago, outside the manager’s office, MacPhail talked about the decision to send Tatum out and also had some comments on the current trade market in baseball.

“All the time I’ve been in baseball, sometimes the hardest thing for players to really get their arms around is sometimes things happen to him that really don’t have a lot to do with their performance necessarily.

“This is really just a function of us not being comfortable with 12 pitchers because our starting pitching has been so inconsistent of late, that we’ll just kill the bullpen if we don’t carry the extra arm,” MacPhail said of the Tatum decision.

“That puts an extra burden on the position players. It also increases the desire for having your position players be as flexible as possible and play other positions. Jake (Fox) can play first, third, left, catch and he’s out of options.

“But Craig did a nice job for us. Really a nice job in every way, shape and form. But he has options and we feel like until we get the pitching to the point where we are comfortable going with 12 guys, this is the best decision.

“This decision is not irrevocable, you can always get him back within ten days or so. He deserves to be here, he’s displayed that he is perfectly capable of handling the job.”

MacPhail said Tatum, who injured his right hand last night, was cleared to play today, so a DL stint for him was not an option.

MacPhail would like to get Tatum back on the Major League roster when he can, but won’t commit to a timeline for that right now.

“You just can’t make promises though. You just don’t know how these things are going to unfold, but we made it clear to him that we felt like he certainly played at a level that showed he was capable of handling the job that we asked him to handle.”

Meanwhile, the countdown to the July 31st non-waiver, trade deadline is on. The Orioles have had discussions, but right now, MacPhail said, the trade market has not yet heated up.

“Things are moving along. My impression is that there are some big starting pitcher targets out there and I think a lot of teams are expending their energy and potential resources to see if one of those guys is in reach or not before they move on to other targets.

“It’s been kind of slow developing, but prodding along.”

I asked MacPhail if he felt the O’s would make at least one move by the deadline.

“Don’t know. Everybody is being a little coy right now, myself included.”

There are some that feel the pending three-game suspension that Ty Wigginton has appealed could impact his trade value, but MacPhail does not agree with that.

“I don’t think that’s going to be impactful for that.”

The Orioles, if they could, reportedly would not mind dragging the Wigginton appeal process into September so they don’t have to play a man short when he does serve his suspension, pending the results of his appeal.

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