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BALTIMORE—With the Tuesday 6 p.m. trade deadline, Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias says it’s a seller’s market, and the Orioles have checked in with each of the other 29 major league teams.
“I think that if we are going to make additional acquisition trades, I would bet heavily they are going to be on the pitching side of things.” Elias said in a news conference on Friday. “I think it’s no secret that that would be the areas of the team where we could (A) either use more depth, or (B) look for upgrades, so we’re working on that right now but this stuff … I don’t have total control over it.
“It’s a two-party transaction and there’s a big market out there happening right now and we’re participating in that market and we’ll see what comes of it, but those are obviously the conversations that are first and foremost for us on the pitching side when we’re looking to bring in help.”
Elias said that he has the approval from Orioles CEO John Angelos to add additional payroll.
“We’ve had a lot of high-level discussions, planning scenarios and our baseball operations group has the wherewithal from the CEO, the partnership group to make good baseball trades that could add to our payroll if we find them. So, again, I’m not going to make what I think is a terrible trade and force it so we can point to something, but we definitely have the flexibility to do that. I think that’s great and we’re going to be considering opportunities.”
The Orioles enter Friday’s game against the New York Yankees 1 ½ games in front of second-place Tampa Bay in the ultra competitive American League East. Elias believes that the Orioles could make a deep playoff run even without additions at the trade deadline.
“Yes, I do. Doesn’t mean that we don’t want to improve,” he said. “The Dodgers are pretty good, too, and they’re bringing some extra help in, so we’re looking at that, but I think very clearly this team has revealed itself to be as capable as anyone in our league and in baseball now to make a playoff run. It seems like kind of a flat landscape this year. We’re in the best division and we’re on the top of it right now, but everyone has got a – by a good margin – has a winning record in our division right now, so we’re right there with anyone, I think.”
Means could be back next month: John Means, who hasn’t pitched since his April 2022 Tommy John surgery, and Mychal Givens, who’s out with right shoulder inflammation, are both in throwing programs and both should pitch in Florida Complex League games early next month, Elias said.
Elias isn’t sure when Means can return. The Orioles hoped he would have been pitching by now, but in late May, he suffered a back injury that set him back.
“I think it’s going to depend on so much that I don’t have right now,” Elias said. “Who’s on our team, and how they’re doing, who’s healthy, how’s he looking … We have no concept of that and obviously he’s a starting pitcher from a career standpoint and a skillset standpoint. The circumstances of the team and him, in particular, will drive that in particular.
“I do think the early September marker is one to keep an eye for him as things stand right now but as we see last time, weird stuff happens and timelines change.”
Updates on Mullins, Hicks, Akin, Tate, Voth: Outfielders Cedric Mullins, who’s on the 10-day injured list with a right adductor groin injury, and Aaron Hicks, on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain, “are both doing well,” Elias said.
“I’m not ready to put out exact dates [for their return] yet. They still have some milestones before we’d be comfortable doing that. I think the hope is that each of those guys will be able to play a large bit of August for us.”
Elias does not anticipate shopping for another left-handed hitting outfielder.
Reliever Dillon Tate, who hasn’t pitched this year because of an elbow injury, is progressing toward a throwing program, and Elias hopes he’ll pitch before the end of the season.
Left-hander Keegan Akin, who’s out with lower back discomfort, should pitch in the Florida Complex League early next month before proceeding to Triple-A Norfolk.
Right-hander Austin Voth has already thrown in the Florida Complex League, Double-A Bowie and Norfolk, and Elias says he’ll remain on his rehab assignment because of right elbow discomfort.
Bowie shortstop Jackson Holliday is out because of illness and won’t play for the next several days.
DL Hall update: DL Hall was sent to Sarasota last month, and on Tuesday, the left-hander pitched a scoreless inning in the Florida Complex League. Elias says he’ll throw two innings on Saturday.
“He’s back. He’s healthy. He threw well on Tuesday,” Elias said. “We’re going to keep building and eventually get him out of Florida. I think the interesting part of the decision with DL Hall will be whether to build him all the way back up to four-plus innings like we would with a starting pitcher or possibly see fit to truncate that, get him up and running as a relief option for the stretch.
“He knows that. It’s not something that’s been decided, and again like Means, a lot of it is going to be influenced by information that we get on the Orioles over the next few weeks.”
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