Yes, there are still quality players available. Johnson, Tampa Bay Rays P James Shields, Chicago Cubs P’s Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster as well as Seattle Mariners P Jason Vargas are amongst the highlights of hurlers either definitely or potentially available. San Diego Padres 3B Chase Headley, Cubs OF Alfonso Soriano, Minnesota Twins OF Denard Span and 1B Justin Morneau, Cleveland Indians OF Shin-Soo Choo and Philadelphia Phillies OF Shane Victorino are amongst the bats either available or believed to be available.
There will be plenty of arguments against the Orioles making any of these moves before 4pm Tuesday. Arguments will be made about the Orioles “not being good enough even if they add ________”. More arguments will be based on how much it’s worth giving up for particular players or if there’s ANYONE the team should consider giving up prospects like P Dylan Bundy, SS Manny Machado or INF Jonathan Schoop in order to acquire. There’s certainly going to be arguments made about the players in question not being the right fit or having particular weaknesses that make them less desirable.
Just last week, MASNSports.com said the Birds didn’t get far in talks with the Houston Astros about Rodriguez because they had questions about his velocity.
In case you forgot, these are the same Orioles who brought in Jamie Moyer earlier in the season.
There’s no individually correct answer that covers all of these arguments. The Birds might not be good enough even with an additional player (or two additional players) to hold off all teams in the Wild Card race. (They’re almost certainly not going to find anything that will help them stay on course with the New York Yankees in the division.) I think about everyone has agreed that no player is worth giving up on Bundy, but the conversations about Machado and even P Brian Matusz are more interesting. I’ll already make an argument against Vargas based on his numbers away from Safeco Field, but I’ll admit his overall 3.76 ERA is something we could use more of in Baltimore.
The biggest argument I’ll make personally will remain “if you AREN’T willing to take a chance and make a run at the postseason this year, when will you be?”
Duquette has already stated that despite the big money given to Jones midseason to keep him in Orange & Black, the organization is unlikely to suddenly spend more money in free agency in the offseason. The nucleus of Jones, C Matt Wieters, RF Nick Markakis, SS JJ Hardy and 1B Chris Davis along with a pitching staff only highlighted by Wei-Yin Chen and Jason Hammel has produced merely a miraculous four months with no particular reason to believe they can continue.
The unit could be bolstered in coming seasons by Bundy, Machado and Schoop-but with absolutely no guarantee that any player in that group will prove to be a significant difference maker.
The success attained to this point-even by accident-might not be even remotely sustainable for future seasons if the Orioles continue to do business as they have.
This might be their only chance to give Baltimore baseball fans a chance to experience an “elimination game” in a span of two decades.
There are plenty of questions facing this organization on the cusp of the deadline. There’s only one I keep coming back to however.
If not now, when?