Waiting the hardest part in determining Orioles’ trade deadline fate

June 21, 2012 | Luke Jones

Realistically, the Orioles must get more from Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta to give themselves any real shot in September. Left-hander Zach Britton can certainly provide a boost if he continues to improve at Triple A, but expecting a 49-year-old Jamie Moyer or Tillman to offer anything better than what Tommy Hunter, Matusz, or Arrieta have provided over the first three months of the season isn’t realistic.

Internal options aren’t there for left field, so a trade will almost be a necessity. Upgrading won’t be difficult — the current standard is quite low — but finding one of real quality will be.

Acquiring a pitcher such as Ryan Dempster or Brandon McCarthy (both become free agents after the season) or taking on a sizable portion of a hefty contract such as that of left fielder Alfonso Soriano might be attainable, but Duquette and the Orioles should remember two important ideas when pondering any potential trades.

One, 2012 should not be considered an “all-in” year for the Orioles, no matter how tempting the playoffs sound for an organization and fan base starving to win. No move should be made that potentially hurts the next few seasons. The goal is to win championships and sustain success, so mortgaging the future for what still looks like an unlikely dream of a wild card would be unwise.

Second, any trade should try to not only help the Orioles over the final two months of the season but beyond that. If they must add a rental such as Dempster, the package they’re offering should be modest. Ideally, Duquette should look to add players who are either signed for the next season or two or can be realistically retained with a new contract.

With those notions in mind, even the best efforts could result in an underwhelming return at the deadline for the Orioles. The volume of goods to offer just isn’t there and the risk would be too great to offer their prized prospects in trades.

As fun as the first three months of the season have been and as hungry as fans are for a winner, it’s important to remember how unexpected it’s all been. Perspective is necessary while basking in the pleasant dream of the first 70 games of the season.

Progress is apparent in several areas, but there is still plenty of work to do. Potentially stunting that growth by damaging the farm system further for something far from guaranteed could be even more discouraging than the last 14 seasons.

The Orioles are getting closer.

Closer than they’ve been in a very long time.

The commitment from the front office and ownership needs to be there in terms of player development and a willingness to spend money when opportunities arise to improve the club through free agency. Those ideas remain in question less than a year into Duquette’s tenure.

Any deadline trade that improves the team while not compromising the future should be strongly encouraged.

But the club can’t afford to stub its toe, even if it means they fall short this season because asking prices are simply too high.

Anyone invested in the Orioles has waited so long already, but waiting a little longer might be necessary.

It isn’t easy, but this kind of waiting sure beats the last decade’s worth of summers.

5 Comments For This Post

  1. eric Says:

    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. The Real Winston Says:

    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. joe of bel air Says:

    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. Adam Says:

    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. Scott S Says:

    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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