After a quiet day and evening on the trade market for the Orioles, they’ll have a final opportunity to make some deals before the deadline arrives at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
There are still some starting pitchers who would seem to fit: Detroit’s Michael Lorenzen and Eduardo Rodriguez, the Chicago Cubs’ Marcus Stroman and the St. Louis Cardinals’ Jack Flaherty, all of whom have been linked to the Orioles during this cycle.
Justin Verlander has been mentioned, too, but as my friend and colleague Peter Schmuck pointed out, his mammoth contract for 2023 and 2024 as well as a costly vesting option for 2025 and a no-trade contract make him a most unlikely addition to the Orioles.
Tyler Wells’ demotion to Double-A Bowie makes another starter a necessity. Wells’ turn comes up again on Thursday at Toronto, and unless the Orioles quickly acquire another starter who happens to be on turn two days from now, Cole Irvin will likely get the start.
Irvin has pitched only three times for a total of six innings since his last start on July 7th. Irvin had been in the rotation and had two effective starts against Minnesota (two runs, nine hits in 11 1/3 innings) before Grayson Rodriguez supplanted him.
If the Orioles don’t make a trade by the deadline, Irvin could certainly fill the fifth starter role, but the thinking here is that they’re going to need him if Rodriguez, Kyle Bradish or Dean Kremer hits a speed bump, as Wells did, in the next few weeks.
It would be great for the Orioles to add another starter so that Irvin and perhaps Wells, in two weeks, could be used to spell the other young and relatively inexperienced starters so that they would be relatively fresh for the postseason.
The Orioles have to assume they’re playing in October when they’re looking at acquisitions now. Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said on Friday, he thought the current Orioles could be a winning team. Perhaps so, but another starter would be nice.
We don’t know what opposing teams are asking for, and don’t know if the Orioles made a serious offer to the Cleveland Guardians for Aaron Civale. On Monday, Civale was traded to the second-place Tampa Bay Rays for first base prospect Kyle Manzardo.
Manzardo is the 37th -rated prospect on MLB.com’s Top 100 prospect list, just one spot ahead of Heston Kjerstad.
The 23-year-old was the Rays’ second-round pick in 2021 and is currently on the injured list. In 73 games at Triple-A Durham, Manzardo was hitting .238 with a .783 OPS, 11 homers and 38 RBIs.
Civale, who was 5-2 with a 2.34 ERA and a 1.039 WHIP with the Guardians, seems like he would have been an ideal fit for the Orioles. Elias is known to favor controllable pitchers, and Civale has two more seasons beyond this one before he’s eligible for free agency.
Civale’s name hadn’t been circulating as a possible trade target, though I’m sure Elias has his eyes on several other pitchers who haven’t been mentioned,
It will be fascinating to see the type of prospects Elias would be willing to part with, and if Orioles trading partners would be willing to accept position players in lieu of the top-shelf pitching prospects the team doesn’t have.
At Elias’ press briefing on Friday, he laid out two possible plans for left-handed pitcher DL Hall, indicating that the Orioles could use him as a reliever in the final weeks of the season as they did in 2022.
The Orioles’ 4-2 win over Toronto on Monday night kept them 1 ½ games ahead of Tampa Bay in the American League East since the Rays beat the Yankees.
Despite the win, there was another worrisome sign for the Orioles. Yennier Cano, pitching for the second straight night, retired only one of four batters and had to be rescued by Félix Bautista, who threw a season-high 35 pitches while recording a five-out save.
Bautista, Cano and probably Danny Coulombe, who also pitched for the second straight night, are likely unavailable for Tuesday night’s game.
Shintaro Fujinami threw 38 pitches over two innings on Sunday night, and he could be unavailable as well.
It’s obvious that the Orioles could use another reliable reliever to buttress not only Bautista, Cano, Coulombe and Fujinami, but Mike Baumann, who has appeared in 47 games, tied with Bautista for most on the team.
There hasn’t been as much talk about potential deals for relievers, but the Arizona Diamondbacks snapped up Seattle’s Paul Sewald, a reliable closer, in exchange for third baseman Josh Rojas, designated hitter Dominic Canzone and infield prospect Ryan Bliss, who played in the Futures Game.
Sewald was 3-1 with 21 saves and a 2.93 ERA and a 1.023 WHIP for the Mariners.
In the final hours before the deadline, Elias will most likely add another starter and reliever—or maybe even two.
As much as the Orioles could use another starter, it seems that adding relievers might not be as costly and perhaps even more important.