It’s exciting to see that the Orioles are continuing to hold off the Red Sox and Blue Jays in first place because of their powerful lineup. Basically every hitter on the team presents a threat to opposing pitchers. While they are currently third in the AL in runs per game at 4.81 (trailing Seattle and Boston), they still have what I consider to be the most dangerous lineup in the game.
It’s hard to imagine the team staying in first place though if they don’t trade for another arm or two in the rotation. Chris Tillman has been the only consistent starter for Baltimore and considering Kevin Gausman‘s struggles and depending on how much Yovani Gallardo helps, solidifying the rotation is priority number one as the trade deadline approaches.
The biggest issue with making a trade is that the Orioles’ farm system is dried up and there aren’t many trade-able pieces – without completely emptying the cupboard. However, there are a few ways the team could make a deal. Let’s think about some of them.
Orioles Receive: P Rich Hill
Rich Hill refuses to fail in the MLB and has already put together a great season with an 8-3 record and 2.25 ERA. He’s holding batters to an abysmal .207 batting average and deserves to be on a contender. He is currently on the DL, but will hopefully be back in action soon.
Billy Beane loves to wheel-and-deal and knows he can get a decent haul for the 36-year-old pitcher. However, not many teams will go over the top for a player at the back end of his career. That means the Moneyball guru might have to settle for less than he’d hope to get for a younger pitcher.
Walker has nowhere to go in Baltimore after the team locked up Chris Davis. He is playing outfield in Norfolk, but there is a logjam there, too. He would have a chance to start right away – at his natural position – with the A’s, as Yonder Alonso is a short-term solution at first base.
Scott would be the biggest chip though, as the hard-throwing lefty has held opponents to a .107 batting average this season. He won’t be ready for a couple of years and would be a good investment for Oakland.
Orioles Receive: P Drew Pomeranz
Pomeranz has gone under the radar this year, but has a 3.00 ERA and 96 strikeouts. The Padres are looking to sell after unloading James Shields and would likely move Pomeranz if the deal was right.
He won’t come cheap since he has arbitration years remaining and is starting to come into his own as pitcher. The Orioles would have to give up the same type of haul they offer for Hill and then add another pitcher.
It’s a deal that could work out for both sides if Pomeranz turns into a No. 3 arm for the Orioles and the Padres are able to develop both pitchers. Yes, I’m also adding Walker in every deal I’ve mentioned. Some team will like him.
Orioles Receive: P Julio Teheran
Now this would definitely make you drop your phone if you saw something like this happen. Teheran is stuck on a team with a terrible offense, which explains his 3-7 record. However, he boasts a 2.66 ERA and 3.34 career ERA, which makes him very attractive to the Orioles.
He’ll be as expensive as Matt Harvey (yes, I said Matt Harvey – see below), but in a different way. The Braves need to start over and the Orioles will have to offer some of their best prospects in order to get a deal done. I’d imagine the Braves would start talks around Mountcastle and Scott, considering they need a future shortstop and pitching help. Hess and Heim would be sweeteners and adding them might get a deal done.
Teheran would instantly become the team’s No. 2 starter and would be under control until 2019. It’s a lot to give up, but would help the team contend for the next couple years.
Orioles Receive: P Matt Harvey
This scenario is at the end of my list because it seems to be the least likely, but the idea is quite interesting to me, so let’s talk about it. The Mets are in trouble and need to make a big move to fix their lineup in order to keep in the Wild Card Race. Insert Mark Trumbo.
It’s no secret that a) the Orioles will have trouble keeping Trumbo in Baltimore next season; and b) should explore a trade for a pitcher. The Mets have a plethora of starters and the front office has started to sour on Harvey. He’s had a non-Harvey season so far as well, which might convince the team to pull the trigger.
Walker and Hess should be sufficient enough as a package with Trumbo. New York might want Trey Mancini instead, but I don’t see Baltimore being willing to move him.
Of course, I have to admit that it’s unlikely that either of my final two proposals would even be a consideration for the Orioles. We’ve seen enough of Dan Duquette by now to know how he operates. If anything, expect another Bud Norris or Scott Feldman-type move in July.
But hey, it’s still fun to dream about Teheran or Harvey in black and orange.