Orioles can't afford to sit out trade deadline and bank on Cade Povich, Chayce McDermott

The Orioles need to be active in the trade market if they want to keep pace with the Yankees in the AL East
Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Despite boasting the third best run differential in MLB, the Orioles still trail the Yankees in the AL East by 3.5 games and look like they might be playing catch up for the remainder of the summer.

Thanks to a rash of injuries, as well as a stretch of 17 games in 17 days, the O's recently called up lefty Cade Povich to slot into a six-man rotation for the next two weeks.

MLB Pipeline has Povich as the O's ninth-best prospect. The lefty has been excellent in Triple-A this year, striking out nearly 33% of batters while pitching to a 3.18 ERA.

Just behind Povich on the prospect depth chart is righty Chayce McDermott. Though McDermott isn't on the 40-man, he's pitched well in Triple-A and there has been much discussion among Orioles fans about when we'll see the young righty in Baltimore.

However, if the Orioles want to keep pace with the Yankees all summer, they'll need to dip into the trade market and acquire proven talent that will help them win in October. If that wasn't clear before Povich's tough debut, it's obvious now.

The Orioles need to be active in the trade market this summer rather than promote more pitching prospects.

They don't necessarily need to trade away Jackson Holliday to solidify the playoff roster, but they do have a couple glaring weaknesses that must be addressed.

For one, they could really use another top-tier starting pitcher to work alongside Corbin Burnes. The group behind Burnes has been solid, but it feels risky relying on Cole Irvin, Dean Kremer, Albert Suarez, and Kyle Bradish in high-leverage spots in the postseason.

As far as options go, Garrett Crochet is a question mark, and a reunion with Jack Flaherty seems unlikely, but Justin Verlander could be available this summer. The Orioles should also be reaching out about guys like the Marlins' Jesús Luzardo, the Blue Jays' Kevin Gausman, or the Reds' Hunter Greene, to name a couple.

They also cannot go into October with the expectation that Craig Kimbrel will be used in a high-leverage role in the postseason.

Kimbrel's October collapse with the Phillies last year was severely detrimental to their World Series chances and his recent track record in the postseason is not good. He has a career 4.50 ERA with a 5.16 FIP in the postseason, which is terrible compared to his regular season performance.

And unfortunately, it's about time they start looking for a long-term replacement for Cedric Mullins. The stalwart lefty has hit just .178/.225/.314 this year and has been in steady decline since 2021. Luis Robert Jr has had major injury issues and is likely out of the O's comfortable price range, but it would be worth Mike Elias' time to try to work out a deal with the White Sox.

The Orioles don't need to break the bank trying to win a championship this year, but if they want to stay in the hunt, they'll need to address a couple key pain points before the trade deadline.