Melvin Mora is the fallback the Phillies figured to kick around after missing out on Mike Lowell. This time, the Phils have all the leverage.
The Orioles need to move on, free up salary, get younger and freshen their image by vaporizing stale parts like Mora. They’re completely irrelevant in the AL East; even the Devil Rays have more going for them. So what would it take to get Mora, who will turn 36 before next season? Look around the league and you won’t find any better fit for an aging, pricey, stopgap third baseman than the Phillies, and even that’s stretching it. Mora’s skills are eroding at a massive rate. He’s posted a sub 100 OPS+ for two consecutive seasons and only played 126 games in 2007. He missed time with a foot sprain and the garden variety 3B sore back.
The Baltimore Sun suggests Mora would consider dropping his no-trade clause to go to a competitive team on the East Coast. That narrows it down to Philadelphia, Philadelphia and Philadelphia. The Phillies are looking for a third baseman and another right-handed bat. He can even play corner outfield, which the Orioles have asked him to prepare for. Mora will make $8 million in each of the next two seasons with an $8 million club option for 2010 that he can forget about right now. It includes a $1 million buyout, which might be the last check he receives from a big-league club.
The deal will be completed eventually because it makes sense for both clubs. It simply has 'Phillies' written all over it. The Orioles will need to send a bagfull-o-cash, and the Phils shouldn’t send much of anything.