Will Angelos, Buck and DD man-up as trade deadline approaches? (They damn well better…)

July 08, 2012 | Drew Forrester

Will Angelos, Buck and DD man-up as trade deadline approaches? (They damn well better…)

News flash:  The Yankees are winning the AL East.  That’s a done deal.  But the rest of the division?  Not as easy to figure out.  The Red Sox can’t string together three wins in a row, let alone get themselves back in the AL East race.  Toronto’s pitching staff is auditioning for a role in an upcoming M*A*S*H* movie.  Tampa Bay seems to be in one of those ruts where they just don’t have what it takes.

In other words —  it’s July 8th and the Orioles are firmly alive and well in the American League East.  They’re so alive, in fact, that it’s not out of the question that our beloved Birds might be legitimate wild card contenders come Labor Day.

I know, that’s as rare as summer temps in the 100′s in Baltimore.  Oh, wait…

Anyway, it’s not a joking matter when the All Star Game approaches and the Orioles aren’t already cooked for the summer.

The next few weeks are going to be very interesting for the Orioles, for they’re about to enter unchartered territory.  Since 1997, this team has never headed to the trading deadline with a legitimate chance to be a player in the post-season race.  Sure, they got off to a great start in 2005 and were just 2.5 games back at the All-Star Game, but that edition of the Orioles was taking on water by mid-June and lumbered into the All-Star break with a collapse all but guaranteed.

This Orioles team, while also blemished with plenty of pot holes, looks much different to me than the Lee Mazzilli-managed squad of ’05.  This team, for what it’s worth, looks like they actually want to win.  The ’05 team was winning by accident.  This team, even with no real left-fielder, no regular 3rd baseman, a bunch of guys at first base who are there only because they can’t play anywhere else, and a starting rotation in tatters…well…that sure sounds like a last place team — not a team on the verge of competing for a wild card spot in the American League.  But that’s your 2012 Orioles.  Full of question marks?  Absolutely.  In the race?  You bet.

So…now what?

That’s the question.

Now what?

Fourteen straight years of losing in Baltimore.

Fourteen.

Bill Clinton was the President the last time we saw September baseball that mattered.

Remember him?

Yep, it’s been (such) a long time, as the band “Boston” once said.

The next three weeks will be a great litmus test for the Orioles and their commitment – if it exists – to winning.  Will they try and pry Zack Greinke from Milwaukee and bolster a pitching staff that sorely needs a high quality arm?  What about Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster in Chicago?  Would the Orioles give up whatever is necessary to get one of those two?  How about another bat, preferably one that works when runners are on the bases?

Are the Orioles prepared to live life like the Yankees and Red Sox have lived it for the last decade or so?  Are they ready to trade away a high-level prospect or two and gamble that such a move helps push them over the top and give their fans playoff baseball for the first time in 15 years?  The Yankees and Red Sox are always nibbling at the deadline…mainly because they’re always in the hunt every July.  But those two franchises rarely let a chance to improve get away without trying to get better.  Lance Berkman didn’t exactly light it up for the Yanks a few years back, but it was a good thought at the time.  Sometimes those moves work, sometimes they don’t.

The Orioles are not a gambling franchise.  The owner certainly feels much more comfortable holding on to what he has rather than raising the ante and making the game more interesting.  And we all know, in Baltimore at least, money is always the final question when any type of move is considered.

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11 Comments For This Post

  1. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    Come on Drew, unfair to the fans do you really think Angelos cares if he is unfair to the fans, I think not. There is no one better at blowing smoke up our a-holes than Angelos, if he can’t get the better of a deal the Orioles won’t pull the trigger on a trade. They might trade for another has-been, but I doubt a big name player. I hope I am wrong.

  2. John Says:

    Come on Drew you and Nestor need to stop beating up Angelos and jump on board. They signed Jones long term and were first to jump in as buyers a month before the trade deadline. They have proven themselves as they will do what it takes to be successful. (DF: LOL x 5. “Proven themselves as they will do what it takes to be successful.” You must wear the Oriole Bird costume in your spare time. Laughable…)

  3. Tim Says:

    John, bravo on signing Adam Jones, it HAD to be done. Congrats.

    Jim Thome alone is NOT the answer.

    July will prove if ownership is committed to winning, or just satisfied to flirt with .500.

  4. joe of bel air Says:

    Get real Drew. The Orioles should not be buyers this year. They have so many holes on this team that 1 or 2 players obtained in a trade deadline trade isn’t gonna help. Hell the Angels call up Brad Mills from Salt Lake City where he was 3-4 with a 4.76 ERA and he shuts the Orioles out on 3 hits over 5 innings. They have offensive holes, pitching holes and defensive holes. Unless Gonzalez and Tillman can replicate their starts from the other day about 10 more times the rest of the season then the Os should be satisfied with finishing around .500 and work on plugging their many holes in the off season.

  5. joe of bel air Says:

    I think what we saw from the Orioles the last 3 weeks when they went 6-13 is closer to the real Orioles than what he saw the first 2 i/2 months of the year. This team is dead last in fielding in the AL, 11th in hitting and 9th in pitching. To expect Buck to work some miracles in the second half is asking too much. Hell he should be manager of the year for what he did the first half of the year.

  6. BmoreBobRob Says:

    I am not sure the Orioles have the organizational depth to trade for rent a players. I’d rather have them play it safe and keep Bundy and Machado than trade them away for a chance this year. With the extra playoff team, there will be less sellers. You have to have faith-just like the fans of NST did after You Pon was yanked.

  7. J Says:

    The goal of every team is supposed to be to try And get better every year. Grow this buy that. Trade him but not him. I dont really care how they do it just do it.

  8. Don Julio Says:

    Trade Matusz and Schoop plus another mid-level prospect for whatever pitcher that can bring but I wouldn’t move Bundy, Machado or Arrieta just yet.
    Would love to see Garza or Greinke (assuming they can resign him.)

  9. tsnamm Says:

    I sure hope so too Drew, but I’m very skeptical… you would think the “fear” of spending some money on this team would have worn off when compared to what trying to spen as little as possible has gotten them…last place for 14 years and an empty ballpark. They always talk about how valuable all these prospects are, yet only 2 of them off the top of my head have even become “stars” in the last 15 years. When it comes to sacrificing “potential” that might not add up to anything vs. actual proven statisical players in the major leagues, it seems obvious to me which direction they should be going. The big difference is the price tag. Like the old saying goes, you can make a pizza so cheap no one wants to eat it. Rather than trying to save a buck, its time to try and grow revenues with investments in WINNING…lets see if they give it a shot.

  10. The "Armchair QB" Says:

    As presently constituted, this team has apparently gone about as far as it can, which is to say that their performance overall to date has been surprisingly successful! However, the pitching, fielding and hitting deficiencies are taking their toll, so an infusion of talent is a “must” if they have serious designs on post season play. And, therein lies the “rub”, i.e., serious designs. We’ll probably learn more about that following the allstar break, but my hunch is that we’ll be in for yet another letdown because….leopards don’t change their spots!

  11. Tom Says:

    I will be the first to stand up and give Peter an “atta boy” (please – this is all I can stomach with that clown) if he ok’s what is required – a front-line pitcher and another bat – prefer a 3rd baseman.

    This almost reminds me of “Major League” – a group of rag-tag players who actually have a chance despite ownership’s goal of making money, making money, and you guessed it making money. I can just picture Nick Markakis firing up the outboard boat motor to make bubbles in the spa that Adam Jones sits in on a nightly basis.

    “We will invest the MASN revenue right back into the ballclub”. Let’s SHARE a Chinese lunch if you can guess who said that way back when……

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