For the next eight weeks, trade talk will pervade the airwaves and the Internet. Dozens of players will be linked with the Orioles, and a lot of other teams, too.
Last year, the Orioles sniffed around a number of players, and probably came the closest to trading for Joe Blanton, but balked when the Phillies asked for prized minor league infielder Jonathan Schoop.
Blanton didn’t much help the Los Angeles Dodgers and he hasn’t been an asset for the Angels this season, either.
Instead of making the Blanton deal, the Orioles picked up Joe Saunders in late August for Matt Lindstrom.
This year, the Orioles are probably just as serious about adding to their starting staff as they were last year, but face similar obstacles.
Their minor league system isn’t notably stronger. It’s better at the margins thanks to a fruitful draft last year, but still lacks major league ready prospects.
The Orioles weren’t going to trade Dylan Bundy last year. Now you can add Kevin Gausman to the list of untouchables.
Perhaps the Orioles can be persuaded to move their third best pitching prospect, 20-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez, who’s doing well at Frederick. Maybe they’ll consider trading corner infielder Nicky Delmonico, Rodriguez’s teammate with the Keys, but he’s shown a propensity for getting hurt.
Some scouts have been intrigued by Norfolk outfielder L.J. Hoes, but he’s shown a distinct lack of power at Triple-A. Xavier Avery, who was with the Orioles for some of last year, was sent all the back to Bowie this year and has only recently been promoted to the Tides, but his value isn’t terribly high these days.
Schoop is currently on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his lower back, and may not play again until close to the trade deadline. Because of this injury, even if the Orioles were inclined to listen, his value may have fallen.
There are always the old trade talk stalwarts, Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton, but their stock has fallen, especially Arrieta’s.
Last year’s addition of a second Wild Card team increased the number of teams who felt they had a chance to contend and reduced the number of ones who didn’t. More buyers and fewer sellers mean fewer trades. There weren’t as many last year as in previous years and there probably won’t be as many in 2013.
Only 13 of the 30 teams are currently under .500, and two of them, the Dodgers and Angels, think they have still have a chance to contend.
While the standings will change, perhaps dramatically, in the next few weeks, there are probably only a few name brand pitchers the Orioles may be interested in.
Cliff Lee’s name has been bandied about, but the Phillies are seven games out of the Wild Card spot and could make a push. According to Foxsports.com’s Jon Morosi, the Orioles are one of 20 teams on a list of teams Lee can veto trades to. CBSsports.com’s Jon Heyman says the team isn’t interested in Chicago’s Matt Garza but is intrigued with Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo.
The 27-year-old right-hander won 60 games in his previous four seasons, but is just 4-5 with a 5.05 ERA this season. Gallardo’s contract runs through 2014. The Brewers are paying him $7.75 million this year and are on the hook for $11.25 million next year, and there’s a team option for $13 million.
With Milwaukee far out of contention, they may want to move him, but they’ll have lots of teams with presumably equal or better talent pools than the Orioles interested.
A deadline deal involving the Orioles is certainly possible, but it’s not probable.