Orioles turn reliever into prospects

Some deals just barely need any comment at all. Like this one:

    The Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles have agreed in principle to a trade that would send former All-Star reliever George Sherrill to Los Angeles for two minor league prospects. The Dodgers will pay the approximately $1 million left on Sherrill's salary this year.

    The rebuilding Orioles will receive third baseman Josh Bell and right-hander Steve Johnson, both of whom were playing at Double-A Chattanooga.

I'm not going to criticize the Dodgers for trading Josh Bell. Who knows? Maybe Casey Blake will live forever.
What I will do is send up a big hip-hip-hooray for the Orioles, because the single best thing any rebuilding manager can do, ever, is trade a relief pitcher in late July for a couple of solid prospects.

Let me repeat for anyone not paying attention: a relief pitcher.

Relief pitchers are, well, I would say that they're "fungible" except that word always makes me think of a massively fun and rigid airship. Instead I'll say that a relief pitcher, purely in terms of value, is not worth two solid prospects.

Bell and Johnson are solid. Bell opened the season as the Dodgers' eighth-best prospect, and has done nothing this season to damage his credentials -- he's got mid-range power and a .364 career on-base percentage. Johnson is 21, almost 22, certainly throws hard enough (90-93) and has struck out nearly a batter per inning in his five minor-league seasons.

If I were an Orioles fan, I would be organizing a party right now.