Although Baltimore Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins, aka CM Storm, burst onto the scene with an All-Star campaign in 2021, he and the franchise are already at a crossroads.
With the Orioles torn between retooling their farm system and building around their current All-Star caliber cornerstone players, MLBbro Cedric Mullins finds himself stuck in the middle.
With Baltimore coming off a 5th-place finish in the AL East in 2021 along with an equally dismal start to 2022, combined with their unwillingness to increase their payroll, Mullins could find himself roaming center field for another franchise by the trade deadline.
A Rising Star
The mere mention of trading Mullins should be laughable as last year was the best statistical season of his young career. It was the first full season he was able to play due to the shortened 2020 season and him splitting time between the Majors in minors in 2019.
He finished 2021 ninth in AL MVP voting with a .291 batting average, 30 HRs, and 59 RBI. Mullins was also the only player in 2021 to join the 30/30 club with 30 stolen bases as well. Mullins was one of, if not, the best leadoff hitters in the Majors last year.
Cedric Mullins Knocking On Door Of Exclusive 30-30 Club | mlbbro.com
Trade or No Trade, Mullins will Excel
With the rest of the AL East constantly adding talented players, the Baltimore Orioles would be wise to refrain from moving him. At age 27, Mullins is on the verge of his prime and is the type of offensive catalyst that can keep pace with the other stars in the American League. But it was made evident this offseason that several other teams were interested in his skills. The Yankees were one of the most notable teams to inquire about his availability.
Whether he is traded or not could affect him in several ways. If traded to a winning franchise, he could be elevated to another level. The production Mullins delivered at the plate in 2021 was enough for a top 10 MVP finish even playing for a team that was well below .500.
Joining a team in playoff contention could raise him to top 5 MVP consideration.
Cedric Mullins Is An All-Star | Period, End of Story | mlbbro.com
Mullins Vital to Future of Orioles
The future of Cedric Mullins and the Orioles are both in the air at the current moment. Mullins spent most of the winter wondering if he would remain in Baltimore.
Many teams were interested in the services of the versatile outfielder and asked about the price needed to acquire him.
The Orioles were not conservative in their demands for hefty returns for Mullins. They are aware that he is a young star and will be under club control through the 2025 season.
If the Orioles decide to trade Mullins, the team could receive several prospects to bolster their farm system going forward. In contrast, by not trading Mullins, the Orioles could resign him, and form a one-two punch with Adley Rutschman to carry the team as it continues its climb out of the AL East cellar.
Slow Start, With a Brightside
Cedric Mullins has gotten off to a slow start in 2022. The Orioles are hopeful that he returns to his 2021 form soon.
He was the team leader in most offensive categories last year, with 175 hits, 91 runs, 72 XBH, 59 walks and 30 stolen bases. Mullins also led the team in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS.
Baltimore will still do its due diligence and vet trade offers for Mullins. With at least three years to be under team control after 2022, Mullins must continue to post MVP caliber numbers to earn significant contracts via arbitration.
Maintaining his All-Star status will either convince the Orioles to commit to him, or entice another team to trade for him, thus choosing to make him a part of their future.
Cedric Mullins earned his first-career Silver Slugger after setting career-highs and leading the Orioles in nearly every major offensive statistical category in 2021.— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) April 11, 2022
Congratulations, Cedric! 👏 pic.twitter.com/THn4GVQGGP
Whether in Baltimore or with another franchise, Mullins looks poised to be at an All-Star level for years to come.