Score another one for Andy MacPhail. George Sherrill, everyone's favorite flat-brimmed closer, was traded to the Dodgers this afternoon for 22-year old switch hitting third baseman Josh Bell. Bell ranked this preseason as the Dodgers 8th best prospect, and is especially known as having above average power potential and a strong throwing arm. However, he is a big man (6' 3", 235 lbs), and there is some concern about his weight becoming an issue. Bell has put together a solid season in the Double A Southern League this year, batting .296/.386/.497 with 11 homers and 30 doubles in 334 at-bats. He may not be a top 100 prospect, but I suspect that Nolan Reimold would be a good comparison for the type of prospect (if not entirely the style of player) we should expect. All in all, I think this was an excellent job by MacPhail to turn a valuable trade chip into a player with the potential to fill a glaring hole for the Orioles.
Before we get all misty eyed about George Sherrill and lament the lack of an experienced closer, let's keep this in mind: the Orioles have developed impressive pitching depth in the minor leagues (and just added to it with the other player in this deal, Steve Johnson). Good organizations should churn out arms capable of filling relief roles. Between Jim Johnson, Matt Albers, Chris Ray, Kam Mickolio, Troy Patton and a host of others, including David Hernandez and Koji Uehara, the Orioles should have no problem finding someone to fill the role just as capably as Sherrill. Don't get me wrong: Sherrill pitched great this season. It's just that, at this stage of rebuilding for the Orioles, a 22-year power bat who can play third base is more valuable than a 31-year old lefthanded set-up man masquerading as a closer. In case you still weren't convinced, this is more evidence that this organization has completely turned the corner in the last two years.