Early trade buzz suggests Orioles will need to flex prospect capital at deadline

If the early rumors are true, this could be a really important and telling trade deadline for Baltimore.
St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres
St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres / Rob Leiter/GettyImages

As good as the Baltimore Orioles are this season, they are not a perfect roster. They could use more starting pitching depth, especially in the wake of John Means' arm injury. The bullpen really needs some upgrades -- and particularly help in high-leverage innings, given Craig Kimbrel's struggles. Fortunately, that is exactly what the trade deadline is for.

The reviews from Baltimore's efforts at last year's deadline were extremely mixed at best. While they did make a move to beef up their rotation, Jack Flaherty wasn't exactly a guy that moved the needle much. Sometimes, a team can want to get deals done and it just doesn't work out, but last year's deadline definitely fell short of what the Orioles needed.

At the 2024 trade deadline, the Orioles are going to be poised to be buyers once again, with more prospect capital than any other team in the league. Based on the early trade deadline rumblings so far (subscription required), it looks like they are going to have a lot of opportunities, assuming they are actually willing to part with some of their top young names.

Orioles Rumors: Baltimore is going to have some trade deadline opportunities, but it is going to cost them

Just in The Athletic's early trade deadline mailbag linked above, the Orioles were loosely postulated to be a good trade partner with the Royals, Giants, and Cardinals. What was the common theme? Relievers...all of the relievers.

The Royals' need for an outfielder makes sense for starting a conversation, but the Royals' top reliever this year is John Schreiber, and he doesn't miss bats. Plus, if KC is hanging around in the playoff conversation at the deadline, one wonders if they would even entertain trading a bullpen arm of any value (Chris Stratton is a fun name to keep an eye on, though).

As for the Giants and Cardinals, this is where the potential heavy hitters are in terms of moves. San Francisco's search for a stud bat has proven to be problematic, and the Orioles have multiple young guys that could turn into such a thing. A deal for a Baltimore stud would only make sense if the Giants put Camilo Doval or MAYBE Ryan Walker on the table.

St. Louis has a similar, sudden onset issue: after starting the year remarkably poorly, they're suddenly in the NL Central mix. Still, they could move Ryan Helsley at the deadline if they opt to thread the needle (or if they fall off once again). Not only has Baltimore worked deals with the Cardinals in the past, but Helsley also comes with an additional year of team control and checks the "need a closer-type reliever" box quite nicely.

For any of that to happen, the Orioles' front office is going to have actually pull the trigger on a big trade. Given that they already ripped that bandaid off this past offseason in trading for Corbin Burnes, perhaps more big trades could be coming soon.

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