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Will Brian Roberts Be Traded?

Will the Baltimore Orioles trade their marquee 2B Brian Roberts?  O's fans interested in seeing the rebuilding effort continue care, but, more so, the people drafting in AL- and NL-only leagues over the next few weeks want to know even more.  With double-digit HR and 50 SB potential, not to mention a good AVG and lots of run-scoring ability, Roberts is a top tier 2B worthy of a high draft selection and a $30+ bid.  A move to a play-off contending team like the Cubs would only increase those values.

Both Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports and Peter Gammons of ESPN believe Roberts is headed for Chicago.  Rosenthal believes it will be by Spring's end, and Gammons reports the only decision left to be made is by Orioles' GM Andy MacPhail on what players he wants.

With a trade to the Cubs assumed, who will be the fantasy winners?  (The Cubs win big time like the Mets did with Johan Santana because the team will have further addressed its primary weakness (oBP) without having dealt integral 2008 pieces.)

From the Orioles perspective, the winners would be whatever middle infielders come back.  Without a middle infield prospect to speak of, the Orioles' are compelled to play Luis Hernandez at SS.   If Ronny Cedeno (out of options) comes to Camden Yards, he becomes the immediate favorite to play as often as his body allows him.  In that role, he could be a decent SS play in AL-only formats.

Another current Cubs' prospect with no clear avenue for playing time would be 2B/OF Eric Patterson.  He has been starting at 2B for the past week or so for no other apparent reason than to showcase him.  If he goes to Baltimore to play 2B, he will become a viable sleeper in all formats.  One could posit that he'd be a Brian Roberts-lite for fantasy purposes - 10-15 HR and 30+ SBs.  His defense may be maligned, but that isn't a concern for fantasy players nor for the O's who will stink in 2008 and can take the gamble that it isn't as bad as reported.  In which case, the team gets a valuable player/future trading chip.

If the Cubs do not throw in  a power reliever, that should be it for the fantasy ramifications of a Brian Roberts to Chicago trade.  If a power arm come sover, he becomes an immediate candidate to close.