After being swept over the weekend by the Chicago Cubs and another series in which their starting pitching was embarrassed, it appears the Orioles are one step closer to throwing in the towel for the 2017 season.
Re-Tool or Rebuild?
Fellow writer Joe Polek did a great job outlining what the Orioles should do at the deadline and he suggests a re-tooling instead of a full rebuild which I completely agree with.
The O’s still have a quality core and don’t need to blow everything up. The Manny Machado decision can be made this time next year as I’m a strong believer that teams can still get a strong crop of players in a trade even if the acquiring squad is just getting a two-month rental. You think a contender wouldn’t pay out the nose for Manny next July?
No matter how the next two weeks go, I’ll be disappointed if Seth Smith, Hyun-Soo Kim and Welington Castillo remain on the roster when August 1st hits. Smith and Kim definitely won’t be back next year and Castillo more than likely will want to test free agency again.
Smith and Kim won’t bring much in return, but Castillo could net something if there’s a team that feels they need a catcher.
What are reasonable expectations if Britton or Brach are traded?
Let’s take a look at some recent trades involving relievers:
The Oakland Athletics traded Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Washington Nationals for two prospects and reliever Blake Treinen. Baseball America has the two prospects the Nationals traded – Sheldon Neuse and Jesus Luzardo – as top 20 players in the Nationals organization. However, there are other publications that are more optimistic on those prospects. The bottom line is the Nationals gave up two above average prospects for two relievers that I consider worse than Darren O’Day.
Here are more comparable trades to the talent level of Britton and Brach:
The New York Yankees acquired prospects Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield from the Cleveland Indians for reliever Andrew Miller last July. Baseball America’s midseason prospect rankings at that time had Frazier as the 21st prospect in all of baseball and Sheffield as the 69th. In their latest mid-season report, Frazier ranks 49th and Sheffield 73rd. It should be noted that Frazier is in the big leagues now and is playing well.
The Yankees again acquired prospects when they traded Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs knew this was a rental, but still decided to give up the 27th prospect in baseball at that time in shortstop Gleyber Torres. Despite being out for the remainder of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Torres is currently ranked as the third best prospect in baseball.
The Yanks also acquired outfield prospect Billy McKinney who cracked top 100 lists early in his career and at the age of 22 has recently been promoted to Triple-A and is off to a nice start.
So what does this mean for the Orioles?
It appears Britton is the hottest name, with the Los Angeles Dodgers being the most serious bidders. The Dodgers currently have four players in Baseball America’s top 100 midseason prospects list with two of those players being pitchers. I’d imagine at least one, maybe two players would come from those four if a trade is made.
Whoever is traded – and this will come as no shock – the Orioles need to target pitching in return. If they are truly in re-tool mode, the core hitters they have now along with a few in the minors will help them stay competitive. The regression of Kevin Gausman along with no immediate help in the minors means they need to not only find pitchers, but pitchers that are on the verge of being in the big leagues.