Saturday, March 6, 2021


Waiting the hardest part in determining Orioles’ trade deadline fate


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Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Ravens and Orioles beat reporter for WNST and is a PFWA member. His mind is consumed with useless sports knowledge, pro wrestler promos, and movie quotes, but he struggles to remember where he put his phone. Luke's favorite sports memories include being one of the thousands of kids who waited to get Cal Ripken's autograph after Orioles games in the summer of 1995, attending the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade with his father in the pouring rain, and watching the Terps advance to the Final Four at the Carrier Dome in 2002. Follow him on Twitter @BaltimoreLuke or email him at

No one around here is used to the feeling.

With the Orioles hovering right around 10 games above .500 in late June for the first time in seven years, the question has been asked for several weeks and becomes louder with the Fourth of July just around the corner.

Should they be buyers at the trade deadline to not only aid in their push to produce their first winning season since 1997 but also augment the dream of postseason baseball in Baltimore?

We all know the realities.

Entering the season with few expectations, the Orioles continue to play over their heads – statistically speaking, anyway – despite injuries leaving them with one true starting outfielder and a rotation with only two consistent starting pitchers on which to depend. On paper, Baltimore doesn’t pass the eyeball test of a club that’s supposed to be in contention or even entertaining the thoughts of buying at the deadline.

But they’re still right there, creating a difficult but enjoyable decision.

A shallow farm system has few attractive pieces beyond blue-chip prospects Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado. The possibility of dealing the likes of Chris Tillman or Xavier Avery or even lesser talents makes for fun discussion on talk radio and message boards, but opposing teams aren’t parting with impact players without trying to improve in their own right — even down the road. Second-tier prospects still have value, but there isn’t much in the system to really get other clubs salivating beyond Bundy, Machado, or infielder Jonathan Schoop.

To make matters worse, the introduction of a second wild card in each league this year has predictably increased the number of teams believing they have a chance to play in October if they can add a talented player or two for the final two months of the season. Entering Thursday, only seven major league teams were more than six games behind the second wild card spot in their respective leagues.

As strange as it sounds considering the second wild card gives teams like the Orioles a greater chance to taste the postseason, it could also work to the club’s disadvantage in trying to make trades.

The deadline is more than a month away, but it’s all but certain to be a seller’s market with fewer teams considering themselves out of the race and ready to dangle valuable commodities. Contending teams with deep farm systems and a willingness to add payroll will see the best potential deals at their disposal.

So, where does this leave the Orioles?

In order to acquire any notable commodities at the deadline, the Orioles will likely need to take on expensive contracts or two-month rentals. They’re not trading Bundy or Machado and would have to receive something special to part with Schoop. The playoff possibility in 2012 isn’t strong enough to justify selling off their top prospects and turning blind eyes toward the next few years when it seems like the Orioles finally have components of a solid-to-good team on which to build with a potential ace and an impact shortstop in the not-too-distant future.

As dissatisfying as it might sound to fans after waiting the last 14 years for a winning product in Baltimore, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette should allow the next four weeks to play out before deciding to do anything of note.

Some have argued the Orioles will fall out of the race by late July if they don’t try to add players now, but doesn’t that simply support the idea that they’re not ready to be true contenders? There isn’t a single player in baseball the club might add who would be dynamic enough to prevent the potential struggles that would cause them to fall out of contention over a month’s time.

The Orioles have done it for 2 1/2 months, so it isn’t unreasonable to ask for another month of solid play before making a decision to try to pull the trigger.

But let’s pretend the Orioles can remain where they are and stand roughly 10 games above .500 on July 20.

Then, you have to try to make a trade or two to better your club.

After 14 years of disappointment, standing pat would be a tough decision to defend and would send a deflating message to a fan base the Orioles are trying to rebuild after dramatic atrophy over the last decade. At the same time, even the most optimistic supporters of these 2012 Orioles would have a difficult time convincing anyone they’re serious World Series contenders, so some restraint is in order when trying to wheel and deal.

As the roster – and its current performance level — stands now and assuming an early-July return by right fielder Nick Markakis, I can’t envision the Orioles staying in the thick of the race for six months without the addition of at least two starting pitchers and a left fielder. Considering the current state of the farm system and keeping 2013 and beyond in mind, that just isn’t happening.

But some improvement could come from within.

Continue >>>


  1. Duquette has said if we’re in it in July we will be in it to win it. Whatever that means. The big question is do you consider trading Arrieta,Matusz or Britton for somebody that can help you now and maybe later? And who would you consider moving Schoop for? Tough questions but the O’s do need to add a decent OF as soon as possible even if it means giving up somebody better than Avery.

    (L.J. – If I’m moving one of Arrieta, Matusz, or Britton, it must be someone who can help now AND later. Not worth it for a two-month rental. As for Schoop, it’s not worth speculating who might be there a month from now. I’ll just say there aren’t many names rumored to be available at this point that I’d move him for.)

  2. Have to disagree with your point about Moyer not being able to offer more than what Arrieta or Hunter offer now. Have you seen those two pitch the last 2 months? Moyer would give the O’s innings as well as keep the ball in the ballpark. His slow/slower/slowest stuff will be something akin to facing a knuckleballer, thus throwing off timing. I think many in the media gave Moyer too short of thrift. He’s a pitcher, in all senses of the word. A lot more than one can say about Arrieta or “Home Run” Hunter.

    (L.J. – I’m not trying to take anything away from a guy who’s had a very good career, but you have a lot more faith in a 49-year-old than I do. For what it’s worth, Moyer gave up 11 home runs in 11 starts with Colorado. Arrieta’s given up 12 in 15 starts. Personally, I think it’s very ambitious to expect him to be any better than what they already have.)

  3. I for one have seen enough of Hunter, Arrieta and Matusz. You can make a good case that each should be sent down to Norfolk until they get their act together.Why not give Tillman or Steve Johnson a few starts prior to the trading deadline and see what they can do, unless DD is going to use them as part of a trade package. The problem is we have too many position players who are the 24th or 25th man on the team. Guys like Endy Chavez, Nick Johnson and Ryan Flaherty are taking up space. Speaking of Flaherty Luke, what have the Orioles sen in him that make them want to keep him on the major league roster. I don’t get it. He looks like an average hitter, an average fielder and has average speed and an average arm. I guess keeping him on the roster says a lot about their minor league prospects not named Machado. Guarantee you if he wasn’t a rule 5 pickup he would be in Bowie or Norfolk all year.

    (L.J. – I don’t disagree about Flaherty or the other position players you mentioned. I’m all for giving Steve Johnson an opportunity, but Tillman has shown similar results to the three you mentioned at the big league level. I almost think his Triple-A stats this season are more valuable in a trade. If his performance there was any indication that he’s figured anything out, he’d be up with the club by now.)

  4. Read bleacher report talking about a dumpster, garza, soriano deal for the young arms and machado. Seems a bit steep. Do you think duquette will trade manny?

    (L.J. – I really do not see them trading Machado. Certainly not for that package.)

  5. Why not trade Machado? – While I’ve never seen him play and don’t follow the Baysox – his AA stats are underwhelming. .250 AVG, .709 OPS, 4HR, 28RBI, 50Ks, and 15 errors. Anyone making that many errors can’t have good fundamentals.

    (L.J. – Machado is not quite 20 years old and playing at Double A, where most players are 22 or 23. Give him time. Go back and look at the minor league numbers of plenty of good fielders. They made errors. Omar Vizquel had two different 25-error seasons in the minors, for example. Cal Ripken made 35 one season in Double A. It’s very common and not because someone lacks good fundamentals. He’s developing.)

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