Will Duquette make an August trade? Probably. Will it make a difference? Most likely not - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Will Duquette make an August trade? Probably. Will it make a difference? Most likely not

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

We’re halfway through August and Dan Duquette, the Orioles’ executive vice president, hasn’t made a trade yet.

It’s a shocking development.

OK, so I’m only half-joking. It would be a shocking development if it were Aug. 31 and he hadn’t made another trade. In other words, there is still time for the seemingly inevitable.

If Duquette isn’t the king of the August swap, he certainly is a member of the royal court. In his previous five seasons with the Orioles, he has made six trades after the traditional non-waiver trade deadline July 31.

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A few of them have helped the Orioles – Joe Saunders was a contributor in 2012 as was Alejandro De Aza in 2014 and Michael Bourn last year. None of Duquette’s August deals has hurt the Orioles long term. (The ones you’re ticked about happened in bygone Julys. You can look at a grading of many of Duquette’s deals in this previous story.)

The players Duquette has shipped out of town in past Augusts have been largely forgettable. Where have you gone Jason Heinrich, Xavier Avery and Mark Blackmar?

It’s the nature of August deals. Usually only veteran players with bloated or expiring contracts get through waivers and usually the return are minor leaguers not on the 40-man roster (those guys don’t have to pass through waivers to be dealt in August).

Almost exclusively these are under-the-radar, afterthought moves. Which, as we know, is Duquette’s wheelhouse, operating on the margins.

Both of Duquette’s deals this July fit into that same category, and received a collective ho-hum from me and much of the fan base, Of course, acquiring shortstop Tim Beckham looks so far like a stroke of Duquette genius, and Jeremy Hellickson has been solid in two of his three starts.

And, so, I suppose it’s no harm, no foul if Duquette makes another deal this month to acquire a player that can be eligible for a potential playoff roster (trades can be made in September, too, but the players acquired in those can’t appear in the postseason). And I do expect it to happen (so does Rich Dubroff, Orioles writer for pressboxonline.com. He was my guest on my weekly WOYK radio show, which can be heard here.)

I look at it this way: If the Orioles need anything for the stretch run it is better starting pitching. But true upgrades won’t be found at this time – anyone who can really alter a pennant race will be claimed/blocked during the waiver-trade process.

What’s left on the market are starters similar to what the Orioles already have in the back-end of their rotation: veteran pitchers who are enigmas from outing to outing.

Two names that are unquestionably available are current members of the Chicago White Sox, who seem contractually obligated to make a trade each week. Veteran lefty Derek Holland (6-12, 5.68 ERA) and old friend Miguel Gonzalez (6-10, 4.85 ERA) are both free agents at season’s end and likely won’t be returning to a rebuilding White Sox club.

The Orioles have always had a little interest in Holland, and we all know Gonzalez’s track record against the AL East. But you have to wonder where they would fit, who they are better than, what corresponding moves make sense (either 25-man and/or 40-man depending on when a trade occurs)?

And, ultimately, what do the Orioles give up for such a late addition? Again, Duquette has been good about not getting burned in August, but I’m not sure how long he can avoid that flame given some of his castoffs in July.

Plus, the Orioles will be getting some players back from the disabled list soon that will cause a 25-man roster jam, and then there are reinforcements – at least from a depth standpoint – available when active rosters expand in September.

I guess my point is I see no need for another middling starting pitcher when the club already has a bouquet of them. Get a real upgrade? Sure. But I don’t see that happening given what’s reportedly – or historically – available this month.

That’s not going to matter to Duquette, I’d imagine. He’ll make a deal in August. That’s what he does.

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 15, 2017 at 7:44 am

    I don’t see why or how Duquette would/could possibly make any moves that make sense at this point Dan.

    You touched on getting players back from the DL soon which will create some issues with the 25 man roster. Would you mind elaborating a bit on the possibilities? I’ve been wondering what would be happening on that front ever since I’ve noticed Flaherty tearing up AA ball these past few weeks.

    • Creatively_19

      August 15, 2017 at 8:19 am

      I’m thinking Gentry and Tejada will both be DFA’d. However, there is no way Buck sits Beckham for Flaherty, and the only way Flats should get into a game is if he’s giving some rest to one of the infielders.

      If anything, Dan makes a deal at the very end of August so that a player can be added to the team when rosters expand, because I’m pretty sure he’s hamstrung at this point.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 15, 2017 at 8:57 am

        Sounds logical, but now without Gentry .. and assuming Flaherty and JJ both return, you’re definitely light in the outfield especially since you traded Kim away. That leaves only Joey Rickard as a late inning defensive substitute.

        • Creatively_19

          August 15, 2017 at 9:19 am

          Santander is joining the team on Thursday, he’d replace Gentry in the OF.

          • Dpsmith22

            August 15, 2017 at 9:47 am

            Santander is another “bat first” outfielder. I think we have enough of those. Poor Jones.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            August 15, 2017 at 10:47 am

            Hmmmmm … forgot about Santander being a rule 5. WHICH .. leads me to believe that Rickard may spend some time in Norfolk before September .. which of course .. is all dependent on when exactly JJ is due to return?

            I’m sooooo confused. Help us Dan!!

    • Dan Connolly

      August 15, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      Hardy likely won’t be back until the rosters expand. So that’s not a roster worry. I don’t like to speculate on which players will lose their jobs. That’s never fun. But common sense tells you that with the addition of an infielder and an outfielder, one of each likely go. Especially if the Orioles think they can get both thru waivers and have them available again in September if desired.

  2. Bancells Moustache

    August 15, 2017 at 9:07 am

    He has to do something, as last night proved once again the disastrous effect the starting pitching has on this team. Playing against a playoff contender and Yovani Gallardo again stinks up the joint, watching 4 home runs fly off into the night. It’s unacceptable. How can Buck keep allowing guys like Gallardo to kill any shot at the post season?! Fire everyone. Force Angelos to sell the team. Change the uniforms. Move back to St Louis and become the Browns again. We’re all gonna die…

    • Bancells Moustache

      August 15, 2017 at 9:08 am

      Oh my God, Yovani is a Mariner and helped the O’s WIN? Sweet! (Forget all that stuff I said)

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 15, 2017 at 10:48 am

        This is why I love you BanMo. You’re not always so gosh darn serious!

    • Dan Connolly

      August 15, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      This isn’t the bar, but I’m given ya a drink chip anyway. Well played.

  3. Ben1

    August 15, 2017 at 9:24 am

    but who makes room for Flaherty? Tejada or Gentry. Same with any trades as when Hardy returns with Flaherty Os already have 27 men for a 25 man roster

    • Paul Folkemer

      August 15, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      Hardy’s return is coming along slowly, so it’s possible he might not be ready to return until September, when rosters are expanded.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 15, 2017 at 3:04 pm

        How convenient is that?

  4. Dpsmith22

    August 15, 2017 at 9:50 am

    I suspect Dumpster Dan will dump one of these AAAA players for some young never will be, in order to clear the 40. Trash for trash, typical Duquette move.

    Hey Dan: IMO, Holland is horrible and IF Duquette got Miggy back, it would show how bad he screwed up again. I don’t see it happening.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 15, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      Yeah, I’m not sure either are fits. But I don’t think Dan would worry about how adding Gonzalez looks if he can make the team better. I’ll give Duquette credit there. Not afraid to make a mistake. Or correct it.

      • Dpsmith22

        August 15, 2017 at 10:30 pm

        For someone who is pitching risk adverse, he certainly has made some bad choices with starters. He has been quick to remove his mistakes, save Ubaldo. Shows the difference between mid/small and big markets. Big markets trade those mistakes for prospects and eat salary.

  5. ATCguy

    August 15, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Here’s a thought… if Dan could get Detroit to swallow 50% of what’s owed in the contract, why not bring Verlander “back home” to the east coast? He’s out there, he’s available… Detroit wants to dump him… he’s from the Richmond area, and went to school at ODU in Norfolk. Yeah, this year hasn’t been his best, but maybe a change of scenery might do the same for him as it seems to have done with Beckham.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 15, 2017 at 11:23 am

      Wouldn’t he have to clear waivers? And if Detroit is willing to dump all that $ … wouldn’t somebody else claim him?

      • ATCguy

        August 15, 2017 at 8:44 pm

        As Dan says below, he’s already cleared waivers… the big sticking point is he’s still owed 2 years at $26 mil per, and nobody wants to take that on. And which is why Detroit would like to do the salary dump while they rebuild. Hence my 50% thought. If they’d eat a little (which, according to the talking heads on the MLB Network shows, they’re willing to do), and ownership would be willing to drop a little in the pot… maybe a deal could be worked. I know our farm isn’t great, but we’ve never had real trouble getting decent position players, and we seem to have a few to spare. Again, just a thought. 🙂

    • Dpsmith22

      August 15, 2017 at 11:24 am

      I doubt PA wants to give Duquette any more money to sign starters. He has about 30 million in garbage now.\

    • Dan Connolly

      August 15, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      Verlander has reportedly cleared revocable waivers. So he can be dealt freely. The money is a roadblock but the big problem is Detroit would want legit players in return too. He is their homegrown franchise player. And it goes back to the Os farm system. Certainly can’t compete with the Astros and others. If Detroit really is willing to move him.

  6. woody

    August 15, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Signing Verlander isn’t the daftest sounding idea. DET might not require too much in return if a club is willing to pay the most of JV’s salary. Maybe we could use the cash from the Bridwell deal? LOL.

    Seriously though, it’s quite a good fit. If Angelos/DD are all about the here and now, and having a real go at 2018, then JV may be an economical solution – I just don’t see how the O’s sign a top starter next year. JV can still deal.

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