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How inclined are O's to trade closer Sherrill?

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Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Orioles' acquisition of Padres right-hander Cla Meredith on Sunday is not necessarily a precursor to a trade of left-handed closer George Sherrill.
The team already is deep in right-handed relievers, and Meredith, whose ERA since June 2 is 6.06, does not exactly qualify as late-inning "insurance." While a trade of Sherrill looks inevitable — "They will move him; they know he's the best available closer out there," one rival executive says — it is not yet imminent. One general manager interested in Sherrill says the Orioles are "playing the 'don't-have-to-move-him-so-make-us' card" — a characterization the O's do not dispute. "If it's something meaningful coming back, something we don't have, a building block for the future, we would have to consider it," says Andy MacPhail, the team's president of baseball operations. The Marlins, Dodgers, Brewers and Angels are among the clubs pursuing Sherrill, major-league sources say. The Cubs, MacPhail's former team and one of his frequent trading partners, also have interest. The market, however, continues to evolve in the final days before the July 31 non-waiver deadline. The Marlins, according to one source, have gone from "buying to holding" after losing three games to the Phillies and falling below .500 this weekend. The Brewers, who traded for Diamondbacks infielder Felipe Lopez on Sunday, also are trying to add a starting pitcher. The Orioles specifically want to find a long-term replacement for third baseman Melvin Mora, who is a free agent after this season. They also would like to add to their developing core of young pitching. Sherrill is their most attractive piece. Right-hander Danys Baez, a potential free agent, has posted a 6.20 ERA since May 26 and pitched in back-to-back games only once after undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing all of last season. The Orioles, meanwhile, are not terribly enthused about trading a veteran left-handed hitter, either first baseman Aubrey Huff or outfielder Luke Scott, sources say. The O's effectively hold a one-year option on Huff, who is earning $8 million this season. They can try to retain him by offering him salary arbitration or receive two high draft picks if he departs as a Type A free agent. Scott, on the other hand, is under club control through 2012. He is hitting left-handed pitching even better than right-handed pitching this season and showing increased versatility by playing first base as well as left field. Still, Sunday's trade does not figure to be the Orioles' last. To get Meredith, the O's only had to part with utility man Oscar Salazar, who became expendable after shortstop Cesar Izturis returned from his bout with appendicitis. Salazar, 31, is out of minor-league options, and the Orioles felt that he would not clear waivers if they tried to send him to the minors. The Padres, needing infield help because of injuries to David Eckstein and Edgar Gonzalez, showed the most interest.
Tagged: Orioles, Angels, Brewers, Athletics, Phillies, Padres, Diamondbacks, Melvin Mora, Danys Baez, Cesar Izturis, Aubrey Huff, Felipe Lopez, Edgar Gonzalez, Luke Scott

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