3 relief pitchers for the Baltimore Orioles to consider acquiring ahead of the trade deadline

With the Orioles bullpen struggling, these relievers would certainly help shore it up
The Birds could be in the market for some bullpen depth
The Birds could be in the market for some bullpen depth / Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

With the trade deadline just over a month away, it is becoming more clear what teams will be buyers and what teams will be sellers. The Baltimore Orioles currently hold the top Wild Card spot and have been among the best teams in baseball all season. It makes sense that the Birds would be looking to add to the team at the trade deadline and Mike Elias has confirmed this in a recent interview. Elias also said the team would be busy in the off-season following the 2022 season, and while the Orioles did make some moves that have paid off well, they did not seem to meet the fans expectations.

Two weeks ago I wrote an article about starting pitchers the Baltimore Orioles could potentially trade for at the deadline. Since then, the starting pitching has improved significantly, though they still struggle to get deep into games. The bullpen, which was such a strength in 2022 and for parts of this season, has struggled recently.

Cionel Perez and Austin Voth have not been able to duplicate the success they had last season, Bryan Baker and Mike Baumann have been hit or miss lately, and Dillon Tate and Mychal Givens have been unable to get healthy. Yennier Cano and Felix Bautista have been all-star caliber, but they can't pitch four innings every game. In this article we will look at a few bullpen pitchers who could be available for trade and what it might cost the Orioles to get them.

What relief pitchers could the Orioles acquire at the trade deadline?

Jordan Hicks

The first name on the Orioles list should be Jordan Hicks. Hicks is only 26 years old and on a one year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. He has an incredible arm and has had pitches clocked at 105 MPH, but he struggles a little bit with control. Hicks has experience closing but has been used less in high leverage situations by the Cardinals recently.

This season he is averaging a career best 14.1 K/9 with a 4.02 ERA, slightly better than his career ERA. He could take over the 8th inning, which would allow the Orioles to use Yennier Cano in high leverage situations earlier in the game. He's basically a smaller version of Felix Bautista and maybe the O's can help Hicks the same way they helped Bautista gain better control.

Because Hicks has not been used as a closer much since 2019 and his expiring contract, the Orioles should be able to get him for a relatively cheap price. The Orioles could potentially get Hicks for Chayce Mcdermott and Joey Krehbiel. McDermott is the Orioles #17 prospect and is pitching well for the Double-A Bowie Baysox. Like Hicks, McDermott is a power arm that racks up strikeouts but has control issues.

The Birds are trying to keep McDremott as a starter but if his control issues continue, he may end up a late inning reliever. Krehbiel is having a good year for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides and had some success last season with the Orioles, but the team can't seem to find a place for him on the roster this season, even with the current bullpen struggles. The O's acquisition of Aaron Hicks has gone better than expected and one good Hicks deserves another.

Kendall Graveman

The Chicago White Sox for the second season in a row are under performing and have been continuously mentioned in trade talks. Graveman has taken over as the White Sox closer with Liam Hendriks spending most of his time on the IL, but has also pitched well earlier in games. He has eight holds and is six for seven in save chances.

Adding Gravemen would give the Birds another arm to work with in the middle innings to try and bridge the gap between the starters and Cano / Bautista. Hendriks, who started the season on the IL while recovering from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, is back on the IL with a right flexor strain in his elbow but is expected to return prior to the all-star break. The White Sox could also use Reynaldo Lopez while Hendriks works his way back healthy.

Aroldis Chapman

The Kansas City Royals came into this season with a good young core and a few veterans to help shape them. Unfortunately for them, this season has not gone how they hoped. The Royals are in last place in the abysmal AL Central and have the second worst record in baseball. Aroldis Chapman has been a bright spot for the Royals. Chapman, a seven time all-star was once the most feared reliever in the game and his 17.7 K/9 in 2014 is a record that still stands (hopefully until Bautista breaks it this year).

After falling from grace in New York and losing the role as Yankees closer, Chapman seems to have revitalized himself this season. His 2.84 ERA and 16.0 K/9 would be a welcome addition to any bullpen and he's left handed. Being able to close out a game with Cano, Chapman and Bautista would make any manager smile.

Because Chapman is having such a good year, the Royals will require more in return, but Chapman being on a one year contract lowers the price a bit. With the young players the Royals already have in the majors they will be looking for players that are either major league ready now or will be soon. That package could look something like Hudson Haskin and Drew Rom. The Royals starting rotation has been bad and Rom, the Orioles #18 prospect, could step in right away and give some assistance.

The left hander was briefly called up to the Orioles this season but did not make an appearance. The headline going to the Royals would be Haskin. Haskin is the Orioles #13 prospect and is a dynamic player with great speed. Haskin is a talented prospect but is struggling to gain ground in a crowded Orioles system.

Any of these pitchers could help the Orioles make a run in the playoffs where teams live and die by their bullpen's recently. The Orioles have the depth to make some moves. Will they make a big splash at the deadline or just dip their toes in the water like in the off-season?