Orioles 2012: This Year, Next Year, or Both?

July 13, 2012 | Robert Testoni

As I wrote in an earlier blog, one of the best parts of the game of baseball is that for the most part the 162 games separate the pretenders for contenders. The way that things have been going for our birds, I do not see them getting to 81 wins, as constructed right now. I am also a firm believer that deadline trades do little more than cost you as compared the value you get out of them. The best of these deals in the past 20 years has been CC Sabathia to the Brewers. He gave them 6.7 wins above replacement. Most of the better trades hover somewhere around 3. Will 3 to 5 wins make the Orioles a playoff team? What are you willing to give up for those 3-5 wins? These are interesting questions that Dan Duquette has to muddle through in this next 2 weeks.

Buck Showalter has been a miracle worker as he has kept this team in contention with the worst defense in the league, and a minus 36 run differential. Only Minnesota and Kansas City are worse in the league. I think it has helped that the Yankees, Rangers, and Angels of late, are the only teams that have separated themselves from the pack. The Birds are finished playing the Angels, and have 3 left with the Rangers and 9 with the Yankees. That means the birds have 65 games left against average competition. That itself, should keep them competitive at least into late August. Considering what we have lived with for the last 15 years that is a win for everyone involved including the team, fans, and the local starving businesses. Let look at some of the rumors that have been floated out in the media.

I believe Duquette can make some moves that can keep this team in contention for the Wild Card. Let’s get real; they are not winning the Division. A pitcher like Zach Greinke seems to be out of the question. The cost would be too prohibitive to be worth it. He would give us about 12 starts and if he is on top of his game, maybe 8 wins? More than likely, he is good and we get 6 wins. Whomever he replaces, Matusz, Arieta, Hunter etc… would probably win 2 by accident. Is that 4 to 6 game difference worth what you have to give up? Trust me, Bundy and Machado will be center of the conversation. Also remember he is not signed past this year. Thank you, but I will pass on this one.

Of all the rumors, I look to the Chicago Cubs and either Ryan Dempster or Matt Garza. I do not have an issue about taking Alfonso Soriano because he can still hit. Yes, you have the contract for the next couple of years, but he is a hits the ball better than anyone we have in left field. Frankly, money should not be the issue either since they have save millions since the inception of MASN. Dempster will come cheaper, in players needed to give up, than Garza and you have the ability to be free of him at the end of the year if it does not work out. Although on the disabled list, he is just about ready to come back and doesn’t have a history of injuries. The best part of getting Dempster and Soriano is that you more than likely do not have to give up the untouchables, Bundy, Machado, Jones, and Weiters.

Whatever happens, it is going to be interesting and telling next couple of weeks for Dan Duquette, Buck Showalter and the Orioles. The playoffs are not out of the question because of the mediocrity of most of the field. What, if any moves will they make to get those 5-6 wins they need to part of the mix. I am sure we all will be watching, and that is an improvement from most of the last 15 years.