The Baltimore Orioles need teams to trade with in order to make a deal.
The Baltimore Orioles have been surprisingly competitive this year, but their approach to the trade deadline does not seem to be changing much compared to the past few years. Since the team is not far back of a wild card spot, fans have been clamoring for the front office to buy in order to boost their playoff chances. But dropping back-to-back series to the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays has the O’s with a losing record again, and there a still a glut of other teams in the mix.
The Orioles will likely be sellers over the next week, and fans have to mentally prepare themselves for their favorite players departing. It is still possible that the Birds can rip off another winning streak to put themselves back in the mix, but for now Mike Elias is fielding more calls on available veterans.
I will be going over the three players who are at least somewhat likely to be traded, and which MLB teams would be interested. Don’t hold your breath over trades for Rougned Odor or Jordan Lyles due to poor performance or deals for Cedric Mullins or Austin Hays due to core status and lengthy club control.
Very few fans want to trade Trey Mancini, but both he and the front office are preparing for that possibility. Boomer told Mark Viviano of WJZ-TV Sports in Baltimore he is “taking it all in” in reference to his potential final days at Camden Yards.
I and many others think Elias should hold onto Mancini and sign him to a moderate extension, considering he means so much to the city, and his value isn’t that high. Mancini is limited to first base and DH with occasional corner outfield starts, and he is only a little above average at the plate. His OPS+ of 113 is an improvement over last year’s 106, but that has more to do with offense dropping across baseball.
There is no truth to an impending trade sending Mancini and Dillon Tate to Citi Field (unverified accounts are unverified for a reason), but the New York Mets have genuine in another first baseman. They just traded for Daniel Vogelbach, but they are looking for a platoon partner or a regular to push him to a bench role.
The Houston Astros are looking for an upgrade over Yuli Gurriel, but they are setting their sights higher on Josh Bell. The Cleveland Guardians could be a sleeper team since they would benefit from veteran leadership, and Owen Miller doesn’t really fit at first.
The Orioles certainly don’t need to trade Jorge Lopez, considering he is only entering his first year of arbitration. But every team needs bullpen help, and his trade value will never be higher. I asked an MLB insider Monday what a return for Lopez would look like, and his response was “good question. Not sure. A lot [probably]”.
Every year there are closers who change teams, but most are much further along in their careers. Craig Kimbrel was 33 last year with a big contract but had an ERA of 0.49 when the Chicago White Sox traded for him, and the Chicago Cubs got back a former top prospect and a middle reliever. It is very possible the Orioles could get a similar return for the 29-year-old Lopez and his 1.59 ERA.
Any contender would put Lopez in the bullpen, so I will only the ones who could use a 9th-inning guy. The Spring Training acquisition of Emilio Pagan hasn’t worked out for the Minnesota Twins. Rookie Jhoan Duran has crazy-good stuff, but they might not want to put so much pressure on him. The Philadelphia Phillies have a much better bullpen than the past few years, but Lopez would be a big improvement over Corey Knebel. Elias probably won’t trade in the division, but the Toronto Blue Jays need all the pitching help they can get.
Much like with Lopez, the Orioles don’t need to trade Anthony Santander. He is also entering his first year of arbitration, but the timing works out for a deal. With improved plate discipline, Tony Taters is playing better than last year, but he won’t be returning to his power from 2020. Elias can get some second-tier prospects and promote a Norfolk outfielder.
The San Diego Padres are an obvious fit here given how little production they’ve gotten from the outfield corners. Some people have floated around a returned headlined by Blake Snell, which would be fun, but I haven’t heard if there is real interest. The Atlanta Braves could use another outfielder after Adam Duvall‘s season-ending injury. The Astros are in a similar position with Michael Brantley currently hurt. The White Sox have very little depth and really need a better corner bat.
Due to the years of club control, some teams not in the mix for this year’s playoffs might still be interested. The Miami Marlins want to contend but they are getting nothing from the grass, and they already made a trade with the O’s this year. The Texas Rangers have no running mates for Adolis Garcia. The Colorado Rockies always think they are one player away from a playoff run, and Santander would be fun to watch at Coors Field.
All of these options are distinct possibilities. Where do you think Trey, Jorge, and Anthony will go, if anywhere?