Orioles general manager Mike Elias is going to let the team’s record dictate his strategy ahead of the Aug. 31 trade deadline.
The club is in full rebuilding mode, and if Elias has an opportunity to add more young talent, he’s going to pull the trigger on a deal even if that means more short-term pain in this abbreviated season.
After a hot start, the Orioles (14-16) have fallen into fourth place in the American League East and figure to be sellers at the deadline.
The team has several players, especially in the bullpen, who could be attractive to other teams making a push for the playoffs. Elias already sent reliever Richard Bleier to the Miami Marlins for a player to be named later.
“When you’re trying to develop starting pitchers, being able to hand off games to quality relievers is nice,” Elias said. “It puts less pressure on the manager to stretch those young starters. So there’s a lot of value to it for any club. … Obviously, if you’re a playoff-bound team or you’re in a playoff race, I think relievers are more valuable to you than anyone else.”
Mychal Givens has been at the center of trade talks for the past two seasons. He could provide valuable bullpen depth for a potential contender. Givens had an uneven performance in 2019, but he has pitched well this season. He’s allowed just two runs and seven hits in 13 innings (1.38 ERA) with 19 strikeouts and six walks. A pennant race could revitalize him even more.
Fellow reliever Miguel Castro is another intriguing player for a contending team. He’s had a roller-coaster of a season, allowing seven runs and 16 hits in 14.2 innings with 22 strikeouts and five walks. But Castro has a big arm and can add some power to a bullpen.
Both Givens and Castro are eligible for arbitration in 2021.
Tanner Scott is having an impressive season and could get a solid return. The left-hander has allowed just four runs and four hits in 11.2 innings with 14 strikeouts and seven walks. He’s evolved into a reliable arm for middle innings.
In addition to the relievers, starter Alex Cobb is enjoying a resurgence after a couple of injury-marred seasons. Cobb has anchored the rotation and is 1-2 with a 3.73 ERA in six starts (31.1 innings). He’s struck out 22 batters with 14 walks. Cobb also has the experience to pitch in a high-stakes playoff game.
The Orioles could also consider trading several positional players. Hanser Alberto is crushing left-handed pitching once again, slashing .364/.375/.591 against southpaws. Jose Iglesias has been a spark and leads the club in batting average (.400 in 55 at-bats), but his injuries this season could raise some red flags among potential trade partners.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde is on board with the rebuilding plan, and he’s fully prepared to move forward with the players remaining on the roster. The team’s farm system is becoming increasingly stocked with talent, so there is hope for the future.
“I’m not involved in trade decisions,” Hyde said. “I take the 28 guys that we have here — 28 guys are going to be here today, we’ve got 28 guys who are going to be here tomorrow. We’re going to coach these guys the best way we possibly can and try to win games. So any trade talk is not in my department.”
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox