How active should the Orioles be at the trade deadline?
That’s a tough question but I think the argument could be made for both sides – that they should be “buyers” or that they should stand pat.
The first question that needs to be answered is do we trust our farm system to deliver the quality pitchers this team will need in order to make a legitimate run at the post season? After Jason Hammel (who all of you reading this need to go vote for to be the final AL player added to the all star roster) and Wei-Yin Chen, the reliability aspect of O’s starters takes huge drop off. Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter have all gone from promising starters at the beginning of the year to complete question marks. Arrieta is the only one of the trio who has not yet been demoted to a minor league affiliate although he has seen his time in the bullpen as of late.
So with a serious need for starting pitching and the all star break fast approaching Orioles fans are left to wonder what the rotation will look like when the season resumes on July 13th.
If management decides to roll the dice and let the young arms waiting in the farm system try and solidify the starting rotation we could bee looking at a number of call up combinations involving Chris Tillman, Zach Britton and Miguel Gonzalez who has been just short of spectacular in each of his relief appearances with the big club. I would rather see the Orioles take this road as opposed to dealing out a top level prospect for one starter who will end up being a number three at best.
Why not take a chance with these guys? We have all seen how well Gonzalez can pitch as a long reliever and he has starting experience in the minors. Britton was knocking on the door to be the Orioles ace last year before having to battle his way to a 11-11 record after injury. Then there is Tillman, the man who we never thought would ever make it back to the show after being consistently knocked around early in his career but who has somehow found new life and sits on an 8-8 record with AAA Norfolk, while averaging just over one strikeout per inning.
It’s still two weeks before the all star break but lets be honest, the Orioles are not contending for a pennant so why deplete the farm system in hopes of acquiring a Mat Garza or a Ryan Dempster, who will most likely end up being a number three guy?
Adding Jim Thome was a great move on managements part; it may not be the flashy signing that Orioles fans wanted but it did settle down the DH revolving door. With one position sorted out you move on to the next spot and if we can fulfill the pitching needs with pieces already in place in the minors the Orioles would have more bargaining chips to work with in hopefully acquiring a solid third baseman and another outfielder.
The Birds are “scuffling,” as Back would say, but they are still right in the thick of a wild card hunt. Baseball is all about making adjustments, if the Orioles want to stay in that wild card picture they need to make some moves and adjust to injuries and problems that have surfaced in the first half of the season.