The Orioles are following these players closely.
There are lots of orange shirts at Minute Maid Park, and one or two of them could be Orioles evaluators. While the MLB Postseason roles on, the Baltimore front office is busy deciding which players to add via free agency or trade, some of whom are currently in the playoffs. Just as I did for the Wild Card Series, I will breakdown the performances from the ALDS and NLDS of some of the likelier Orioles targets. That is not to say that the O’s will definitely pursue these players, but that there is a clearer fit on the 2023 roster.
Blake Snell was very wild and ineffective in his start against the Mets, but he looked much more like a Cy Young winner against the Dodgers. He spotted many more fastballs on the edges and only threw a few noncompetitive ones. His curveball was more inconsistent with a few hangers and more in the dirt, but his slider landed quite well. It is worth noting that he gave up a lot of hard contact, and that often leads to extra-bases off a fly ball pitcher.
But more importantly Snell was able to limit damage. When he got into trouble in the fifth inning with runners on second and third, Snell was about to face the top of the order again. Instead of pulling his starter like Kevin Cash, Bob Melvin trusted his pitcher and left Snell in there. The Dodgers only scored one, and Snell left after five and a third, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out six. I am not sure the Orioles would have left him in there, but now they know he can pitch through tough situations.
Like I said last time regarding Jose Quintana, the Orioles would have been wise to sign Tyler Anderson last offseason or the one before that to solidify the rotation. Now the Dodgers have turned him into a frontline starter because of course they did, and the Birds will have to pay a lot more than $8M to sign him this time around.
Anderson has flourished this season with a redesigned changeup, and the Padres had no answer for it in Game 4. His four-seamer was all around the zone, while dotting cutters to his glove side. He gave up a fair amount of hard count but no damage whatsoever, allowing just two hits over five shutout innings, with two walks and six strikeouts. His velocity and spin rate were also up in this game, which is encouraging for future playoff appearances.
Don’t count on the Orioles aggressively pursuing Justin Verlander, but they have to at least kick the tires. His poor start in Game 1 won’t really dampen anyone’s enthusiasm to sign him. Verlander was knocked around for six runs on ten hits in four innings, and it is easy to see why. He landed most of his sliders, but most of his curveballs were down the middle, and the same is true of his fastball.
The Mariners attacked early and often, and the strategy worked against the presumptive Cy Young winner. It is not like the Orioles will have to adjust anything so Verlander pitches better next season, but he will have to locate his fastballs more carefully to start and end at-bats. Thankfully for him, Verlander reassured scouts against the Yankees. Stay tuned.
Also, the Astros were reportedly listening on starting pitchers before the trade deadline. Jose Urquidy would be the mostly likely to go, but he did not pitch in the Division Series.
Bounce back candidates: Mike Clevinger, Trent Grisham, Wil Myers, Alec Bohm, Jesse Winker, Adam Frazier, Carlos Santana, Cody Bellinger, Joey Gallo
Tough ask: Justin Turner, Trayce Thompson, David Robertson, Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger, Josh Naylor, Lou Trivino