The New York Mets reportedly asked for Brad Brach in trade talks? Should the Orioles be willing to move their All-Star setup man?
The Orioles and Mets have been in trade talks surrounding outfielder Curtis Granderson. Reports indicate that the Mets are seeking reliever Brad Brach. Initially, the Orioles have balked at the asking price for Granderson, who is 36 and comes with only one year remaining on his contract.
Brach is coming off a breakout year in 2016, making his first All-Star team. The right-hander with the funky delivery pitched to a 2.05 ERA over 79.0 innings with career-best strikeout and walk rates. Brach came up huge for the Orioles with Darren O’Day making two extended DL trips. The right-hander from New Jersey has gotten better every year he has been with the Orioles. If there is any reason for concern, it is Brach’s heavy workload over the past three seasons and his struggles in the second half of last season. Since 2014, Brach has thrown 220.2 innings. After making the All-Star team, he posted a 3.94 ERA and 1.382 WHIP.
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Granderson is entering the final year of his contract coming off a solid year for the Mets. He batted .237/.335/.464 with 30 home runs. Granderson also drew 74 walks, which would have placed him second on the swing-happy Orioles. The best years of Granderson’s career came with the New York Yankees and the short porch in right field, and his slightly uppercut swing looks tailor made for Camden Yards.
To get this deal moving, the Mets will have to eat some of the $15 million Granderson is owed for the 2017 season. Brach is under control for two more years, and made $1.25 million last year, his first year of arbitration. While he is likely to get a hefty raise this time around, Brach will not make $15 million over the next two years. If the Mets are willing to eat at least half of Granderson’s salary, the Orioles may have more interest in ramping up talks.
It is always best for a Major League Baseball team to deal from a position of strength, and the Orioles have one of the best bullpens in the league. Darren O’Day should be able to stay healthy for an entire season, and Mychal Givens should be even better in his second full season in the big leagues. The emergence of left-handed specialist Donnie Hart will also take some of the pressure of the bullpen.
The Orioles do have a need for a right fielder, even if they intend to bring Mark Trumbo back. Granderson is a good fit as a left-handed hitter who knows how to work a patient at-bat, something this team is sorely lacking. Defensively, Granderson is not as rangy as he once was, but his presence in the outfield is still an upgrade over Trumbo.
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This trade may still have some life to it, even if the Orioles shot down the initial proposal of a straight-up Granderson-for-Brach swap. If the Mets are willing to eat most (or even all) of Granderson’s remaining salary, it would not be a total shock to see Brach dealt. Adding a good right fielder for little cost would leave the Orioles with enough money to re-sign Trumbo, perhaps take a run at Wilson Ramos, or even consider taking a flier on Greg Holland to replace Brach in the bullpen. For now, the talks may have stalled, but if the Mets sweeten the pot, a deal could get done.