Photo: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Being 2.5 games up in the AL East a week before the trade deadline it is easy to understand why the Orioles have been mentioned in nearly every trade whisper. It is a time when every competing team is urged by many fans and pundits to make the jaw-dropping move and add the last piece for their pennant run. However, although in theory this may sound enticing, the cons greatly outweigh the pros in many trade-deadline moves.
The two biggest prizes this trade deadline are Tampa Bay’s David Price and the Philly’s Cliff Lee. However, both come with a litany of question marks. Over the years Tampa Bay has not been hesitant to move any of their prime aged stars for a bundle of young talent, and most around baseball believe Price will be the next to leave. This year the former Cy Young winner has done nothing to hurt his stock while pitching to a 3.06 ERA.
However, although reports state that Tampa would trade within the division it is going to take a significant haul for that to happen. That means one of the prized arms Kevin Gausman and/or Dylan Bundy. Orioles’ fans could probably guess the likeliness of that happening.
The same probably goes for Cliff Lee. After over two months on the D.L., Lee made an underwhelming debut Monday giving up six earned runs. However, on the season has pitched to a commendable 3.67 ERA. There is no doubt Lee would be a welcome addition to the O’s staff, especially given his ability to frequently pitch deep into games.
However, not only is the bidding war for Lee going to cause a team to part with a large amount of prospects, Lee also comes with a hefty amount still left on his 120 million dollar contract. This comes at a time when many of the Orioles’ core players could be hitting the free-agent market. Although having Lee in the rotation for the next two years would be a tremendous boast, the combination of the prospects and the money is way too much for the Orioles to spend. Any connection the Orioles will have to Price or Lee in the following week can probably be disregarded by Orioles fans.
The latest rumors surrounding the Orioles have the Birds connected to starters Ian Kennedy and Jorge De La Rosa. Although starting pitching depth is always a key for any team looking to make a playoff run, De La Rosa seems to be a strange choice. Although De La Rosa is coming off a career year where he won 16 games and had an ERA of 3.49, it was the first time the 33 year-old has made 30 starts and an ERA under four. It’s true his numbers may be a bit off by having to pitch in Coors Field, but he has averaged less than six innings a start the last two seasons, which hardly seems like the innings-eater the Birds need.
Another head-scratcher for Orioles’ fans may be the link to Ian Kennedy, and the most bizarre may be the rumor of the move involving Miguel Gonzalez. Kennedy is having a solid season pitching to a 3.66 ERA which would seem like a welcome addition to the Birds’ staff. However, Kennedy is coming off back-to-back mediocre seasons, including last season when he posted an ERA of almost five.
Although Orioles’ fans may get frustrated with Gonzalez’s inability to consistently get deep into games, in 2012 and 2013 he has an ERA better than Kennedy while averaging more innings per start. On top of that, Kennedy is only a few months younger than Gonzalez and makes almost 5.5 million more than Gonzalez. Also, he is under team control for two seasons longer than Kennedy.
Although it may be difficult to remain idle as other contending teams make trade-deadline moves, it’s hard to imagine a momentous trade that will make the Orioles better today without crippling them in the future. It may not be popular, but the trade deadline may come and go without the Birds making any exciting trades.