The trade deadline is a confusing time for any baseball G.M. On the one hand, contending teams want to add talent that could push them into the playoffs and potentially a World Series. This is especially true in an era where players leaving during free agency is so common that keeping a core group of players together for a multiple years can be difficult. Because of this G.M.’s know that the window for a World Series run is most likely small.
However, on the other hand when it’s obvious some core players may be lost to free agency, it can be dangerous trading away the young talent that could one day replace them. It’s difficult to find the balance between win now and build for the future.
If the season ended tonight the Orioles would join Oakland, Los Angelos Angels, Detroit and Toronto in the playoffs. Out of those teams it’s obvious Oakland and Detroit made the most headlines at the trade deadline. However, just because the Orioles failed to close any of the numerous headline-grabbing deals they were linked to doesn’t mean Orioles’ G.M. Dan Duquette is giving up trying to make the team better for the playoff run.
It’s true that teams are always looking to acquire pitching, specifically a front of the line starter. However, there is a large market for starting pitching which means a lot of teams to outbid. A cheaper option may be to add a veteran position player into one of the weaker spots in the lineup, which would be second base and catcher.
Ryan Flaherty and Jonathan Schoop have played excellent in the field and have both collected key hits. However, combined the two are hitting .211 with 117 strikeouts and 12 homeruns. Flaherty would probably do better in a full-time utility role and Schoop would probably benefit from some at-bats in AAA. If the Orioles could add a Gordon Beckham or Brandon Phillips type player it would do a lot to lengthen the lineup, and wouldn’t cost the team a top prospect.
Catcher may be the most difficult move to make. Throwing even a veteran into handling an entirely new pitching staff mid-way through a season is a lot to ask, and the platoon of Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley has been terrific defensively. However, the Orioles have gotten almost no production offensively from the position since Matt Wieters’ injury. Joseph is hitting just .192 while Hundley is hitting .209 since becoming an Oriole. Teams tend not to part with good catchers, but the Orioles could find a veteran in even the second-tier of catchers that would be an upgrade.
Anyone who has followed the Orioles knows Dan Duquette doesn’t shy away from a deal, and the Birds did get better today by adding Andrew Miller. Just because the trade deadline has come and go doesn’t mean the Orioles are done making moves. Duquette is well aware of his team’s short comings, and is probably on the phone with teams right now.