For the next two weeks, Baltimore’s MVP will not be wearing a uniform. No, I’m not talking about recently injured starter Jason Hammel, who technically will be out for up to four weeks; I’m talking about VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette.
With the trade deadline of July 31 looming, the Baltimore Orioles have to take a good long look in the mirror and decide if they have what it takes for a postseason run. If not, can they sell and get good value in return?
Currently, the O’s are eight games behind the New York Yankees for the AL East title, and have a half-game lead for the final Wild Card spot. That Wild Card lead, however, is tenous at best. There are six other teams within a game and half of Baltimore. The O’s have been on a bit of a swoon lately and if they have any October aspirations, they need to pick things up.
The fact that Baltimore has not made the playoffs since 1997 might urge fans to beg Duquette to bring in a big arm or big bat. Actually, both would be helpful. Considering some of the moves Duquette has made so far this year, I think he will do well before the deadline is over. I doubt he will bring in a big name, such as a Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke, and considering what their asking prices would be, that’s fine by me. Even if they trade for Hamels, he will be a free agent this offseason, and will they be able to afford his $25 million a year price tag? I don’t think so. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to pay him that money even if I could afford it.
The fans are certainly paying attention this year, which is a nice change of pace. Currently, the O’s are averaging over 26,000 fans per home game, almost 5,000 more per game than last year. The last time they averaged over 26,000 fans per game was during the 2007 season.
So what can those fans expect to happen before the end of July? Honestly, I think Baltimore will eventually become sellers, but that’s not a bad thing. They have played very well this year, and if they can make a few moves and build for an even stronger 2013, then I am all for that. Teams always need relief pitching, so why not ship off Kevin Gregg? Need a power hitter? How about Mark Reynolds?
Provided that we get some value for those guys, I would make those moves in a heart beat. If the O’s can bring in someone to help out, that’s fine too, but I would hope that the players they bring in are long-term solutions and not just loaners for the rest of this year. I know the extra Wild Card spot makes several teams contenders, but let’s make sure that Baltimore is well equipped for the long haul.
by Andy Mindzak
What do you think of the Orioles this year? Tell us in comments.