Decisions, Decisions . . .

(Gail Burton - AP)
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Baltimore Orioles will have to decide whether to be buyers or sellers leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.

3 Reasons to Sell

· The franchise has a history of ignoring the future for the present. With the team in the cellar of the American League East, now would seem to be the time to change that history.

· No matter how the team is hitting, there's no making up for lousy pitching. And with three-fifths of the rotation struggling through major league growing pains, immediate improvement appears unlikely.

· Although the farm system has improved over the past three years, there's still not enough depth to deal. One way to improve that depth would be to trade veterans with market value for prospects, the favorite currency of rebuilding teams.

3 Reasons to Buy

· There is no substitute for fielding a winning baseball team. A winning season could turn around the franchise's momentum.

· Aubrey Huff, Brian Roberts and George Sherrill are attracting interest, but if the Orioles don't get value for any or all of them, they might as well keep the talent and make a run.

· When all five starting pitchers were humming, the Orioles were successful. If that issue is addressed, and the offense keeps hitting, the second half could get interesting.

3 Key Items on Their Shopping List

· Can't anybody play shortstop around here? Apparently not. While Brandon Fahey, right, takes his turn as the latest stop-gap solution, the Orioles still need a legitimate major league quality player at the position.

· Outside of Daniel Cabrera and Jeremy Guthrie, the rotation is in shambles. Adding a proven starter would help, though competition for such a luxury is steep and expensive.

· Another hitter never hurts. But this need is not nearly as pressing as the other two, especially if the Orioles decide to make a run now.

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