Orioles Face Quite the Trade Deadline Conundrum

| July 20, 2015 | 0 Comments

OriolesThe baseball non-waiver trade deadline ends on July 31st. While many teams are evaluating if they will be “buyers” or “sellers,” no team may have more of a conundrum than the Orioles. The Orioles are currently a game over .500, haven’t had consistent starting pitching, and have received almost no production from the corner outfield positions, so much so that they moved Chris Davis to right field.

With all of that being said, the Orioles are still very much in the race for the Wild Card and the American League East. I believe they could still win with this roster (especially if Chris Tillman continues to pitch like he did last start against the Tigers), but many others believe the Orioles almost certainly have to make a move at the deadline. How though is that going to happen?

I love social media, but honestly it sometimes drives me crazy. I see a lot of Orioles fans criticizing the team for not making any big moves and suggesting they can just trade Ryan Flaherty and Miguel Gonzalez and get whichever big time player they need. It doesn’t work like that. Most teams just don’t give a great player away for nothing, so if the Orioles are going to acquire one of the “big names” it will likely cost them any combo of Gausman and/or Schoop and a few other players. Do you really want to see the Orioles trade either of those two players for a player who may not even resign in Baltimore? They did it last year when they traded Eduardo Rodriguez for Andrew Miller, who was great for them last year (and honestly I would make that trade again), however, at what cost do you deplete your farm system to make a “run at it”? That is where the conundrum comes in.

If the Orioles decide to become buyers and make a big splash to “win now,” who do they trade? Wei-Yin Chen is a free agent next year and people suggest trading him since he won’t resign next year. I ask you, what does next season have to do with “winning now”? Chen has been the Orioles most consistent pitcher this season. If you hypothetically trade him for Justin Upton, which pitcher (of his caliber) replaces him in the rotation for the remainder of the season? Probably nobody. Chris Davis a free agent who won’t resign, but if you trade him for someone other than a player with a big bat who can play multiple positions, you are downgrading your team offensively and defensively. So if you want to win now, why – unless you could make some major upgrade – would you trade guys who are impact players this season? You wouldn’t.

If the Orioles want to try and help their Major League roster this season by trading for prospects the current team will be in even worse shape. Their two best pitching prospects, Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey, are both shut down due to arm injuries (yet some fans seem to think a team will just take them in a trade), and the Orioles two best position prospects, Dariel Alvarez and Christian Walker, both look like the “heir apparent” at their respective positions next year. If you trade them, and don’t resign Davis, what do you do at first base next year? You are left with another hole to fill.

It takes two teams to make a trade and quite frankly the Orioles have very few pieces in their 29th ranked farm system that teams are interested in. And, if they sell them, they are left with the task of having to rebuild the farm system which will take years.

The Orioles came so close to reaching the World Series last year (and quite honestly losing in the ALCS still stings), however, they are contenders this season and have been since 2012. I like constantly coming into the season with a team that is good enough to win. If the Orioles are to make a run at it and sell off pieces and don’t reach the World Series, we may face another 15-year drought of winning baseball… and nobody wants that.

When we were losing in 2011 were fans saying, “It’s OK that we have no farm system or talent since we made a run at a World Series in 1997”? No. I know it is frustrating, but the best move is for the Orioles to stand pat or make some small trades, and even maybe make a big deal if a team is willing to lower the price, but not mortgage the franchise for the next 5-10 years in order to try to make it to a World Series now. They need to look no further than the teams that were in the World Series last year – how many “big splashes” did they make? They built their team within and then added a few pieces. That is the way to win in baseball these days and the Orioles know that.

Let’s just hope for the rest of the season we see the Orioles team that was 18-5 in their last 23 games in June vs. the team we saw limp into the All-Star break. The talent is there and this team can still win.

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About the Author:

I have spent my entire 30 years living in Maryland and I love everything about this city. Despite the bad reputation the city has, Baltimore will always be a special place to me and I love living here. There is nothing better then Sunday afternoons at M&T Bank Stadium and summer nights at Camden Yards when the Yard is packed. You can find me all over the city so don't hesitate to share your opinion of me good or bad. Who knows, if you see me out maybe I will buy you a Natty Boh. Lets go Ravens and Lets go O's!!! Follow me on Twitter at @MRomanell.
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