Major League Baseball’s non-waiver deadline is just over a week away, what moves do you want to see the Orioles make? To me, the answer to this question begins with an evaluation of all information currently known. So, what do we know?

We know that:

1) As we wake up today, the Orioles are 51-44, good for 2nd place in the American League East (6GB of NY), and tied with Oakland for the 2nd Wild Card in the AL.

2) Chicago, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Boston, and Cleveland are each within 4 games of the O’s, and Oakland.

3) While this is the first year of the 2nd Wild Card, history shows that roughly 89 wins will be required. This would have the O’s needing to go 38-29 (.567) down the stretch.

4) Baltimore is 23-22 at OPACY (36 home games remaining), 28-22 on the road (31 road games remaining).

5) The O’s offense is 20th in runs scored, 25th in batting average, 26th in on-base %, and 17th in slugging %.

6) The O’s pitching is 17th in runs allowed, 26th in Quality starts, 21st in WHIP, and 20th in batting average against.

7) Baltimore is 13th in Defensive Efficiency. This ranks them as a slightly above-average defense, despite leading the league in errors.

8) The Orioles base-running has been the worst in the Majors:

9) The current rotation is Chen, Gonzalez, Tillman, Britton, and Hunter.
9a) Hammel had surgery on 7/16. With 3-4 weeks of recovery time needed, you are looking at a best case of mid-August, with late August – beginning of September likely.)
9b) Matusz (3 AAA starts): 1-1, 3.68 era, 22 ip, 18 hits, 1 hr, 6 bb’s, 10k’s
Arrieta (2 AAA starts): 2-0, 3.18 era, 11.1 ip, 13 hits, 1 hr, 4 bb’s, 11 k’s

10) The O’s current everyday lineup and bench looks like:
C: Wieters, 1st: Reynolds, 2nd: Flaherty, SS: Hardy, 3rd: Betemit, LF: Davis, CF: Jones, RF: Markakis, DH: Thome  Bench: Teagarden, Tolleson, Chavez, Quintanilla

11) Andino went on the DL 7/16, and is expected to miss 3 to 4 weeks.

12) The current bullpen is: Johnson, Strop, Lindstrom, O’Day, Ayala, Patton, and Gregg.

13) The O’s are currently 35-32 against teams at .500 and above. 57 of the remaining 67 games are against teams at .500 and above.

14) There is zero chance of the O’s moving Machado, or D. Bundy in any deal.

Once you have listed what you ‘know,’ to me the next part of the evaluation becomes a discussion of any variables.

What variables are there?

1) The O’s have not had a winning season ’97, and there is sentiment from some that the organization owes it to themselves and their fans to try and make the moves necessary to sustain contention this year.

2) Conversely there are others who believe there are no moves that can be made which will allow the O’s to win this year, and think the Orioles should be trading off players who would bring back much needed depth to the organization.

When you evaluated what is known, and the existing variables; what conclusions do you reach?

My conclusion:

To me, the supporting data does not show the Baltimore Orioles as likely to contend over the remaining two months of the year. However, with their performance to-date, I think the O’s roster has earned the opportunity to stay in-tact.

Had the O’s lost the previous 5 games, as opposed to winning them; I would be more inclined to support the idea of trading Reynolds, Betemit, Gregg, etc. for anything (it would not have been much) you could have received in return. I would have been more willing to explore possible trades for Hardy, and Johnson.

With this O’s team showing resiliency once again, I’m currently of the opinion that you let the existing roster go out and prove what they are over the remaining 67 games. You don’t pull the rug out from under them, by trading their starting SS or All-Star Closer; but you you also don’t raid an already thin system to trade for additional temporary options.

If you are going to put together a larger move, it would likely be highlighted around a package consisting of a grouping from Matusz, Arrieta, Britton, Tillman, Schoop, Bridwell, Avery, Hoes, Delmonico, Davis. If you are going trade several of these players, the return needs to be a multi-year option. A possible example is San Diego’s Chase Headley who has come-up repeatably on the BSL Message Board the last few months. Headley would provide immediate help to the O’s on-base %, and defensive woes at 3rd base. (If you are the O’s Front Office, and you believe Machado will be in an O’s uniform by June ’13, the longer-term question becomes do you think you are better off with Hardy and Machado at SS, and 3rd – with Matusz, Schoop, and Avery still in the organization – or do you believe you are better off Headley and Machado, along with any received return for a subsequent trading of Hardy.)

Chris Stoner
Chris Stoner


Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, CBS 1300, Q1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. He has also been interviewed by The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, and PressBox (TV). As Owner, his responsibilities include serving as the Managing Editor, Publicist, & Sales Director.