The MLB trade deadline is Monday, and after the Baltimore Orioles recent skid, the most logical decision for them would be to sell.
The Baltimore Orioles are still close in the Wild Card standings, but the right move for the long-term health of the team would be to trade away Major Leaguers instead of trading for them.
The Orioles currently sit under .500 and have been playing more like the team they were expected to be than the one that started 12-8.
Thankfully most games have been close instead of embarrassing blowouts, making this season actually enjoyable to watch even when they lose. But a loss counts in the standings the same whether it is by one run or ten, and the losses have been piling up as of late.
The Orioles were not expected to compete this year and the plans for the future have not changed: gather as much young talent with potential as possible so that the team can be a legitimate playoff contender in a few years.
A random, short season won’t change those plans, and now that the team is falling in the standings, Mike Elias does not have to think about whether to push for the postseason this year and go against the plan.
If Mike Elias decides to sell, a full fire sale would not make sense for two reasons. First of all, the Orioles, or any team for that matter, will not get big returns for any player because of the uncertainty the rest of the season contains. More particularly, the Orioles could return to their early season success and sneak into the playoffs with relatively the same roster while also gaining a few prospects.
Mychal Givens is clearly the best trade chip the Orioles have, with a 1.38 ERA and just two runs allowed. The one home run he has given up came this past week, but its rarity was a reminder of how reliable he has been, especially compared to a shaky 2019. Givens is signed through next season, so he would be more than a rental for whatever buyer comes calling. Every team needs relief help, so the Birds could get a prospect we’ve heard of, unlike a player to be named later that is typical of this year.
The front office would obviously have to eat some money here, but Alex Cobb is drawing interest around the league. After two seasons we would rather forget about, Cobb has found himself with a 3.73 ERA and is also signed through next season at $15 million. Most teams want starters, and here is one who could pitch even better in a different division. He would not get a big return, but a return nonetheless.
I do not think anyone else gets traded, but the one sure thing about the deadline is that surprising things happen. Maybe someone splurges for Miguel Castro, or maybe Elias stands pat, like a number of baseball writers expect. I like Kristen’s idea of getting JD Martinez on the cheap, so maybe even some buy and sell is the mix. We will have our answers by Monday evening.