The Orioles were expected to be sellers at the July 30 trade deadline once again as they strive to rebuild the franchise into a potential World Series contender.
However, injuries and poor performances might have altered those plans.
Orioles general manager Mike Elias hinted that things could be quiet at the trade deadline.
“We’re in a little different situation in that we don’t have a lot of expiring contracts that are trade chips right now,” Elias told MASN’s Roch Kubatko. “We’ve got a lot of players that people want, but they’re guys that we have under control for a year more or sometimes three or more, so it puts us in a position to be judicious about it and take a look at opportunities as they come, and it’s hard for me to forecast. We’re certainly working around the clock in terms of communicating and analyzing any ideas or opportunities that cross our desk.”
Lefty relievers Paul Fry and Tanner Scott have emerged as valuable trade chips for the Orioles.
Fry has become one of the team’s most dependable pitchers out of the bullpen. He is 3-3 with a 3.72 ERA and has converted two save opportunities. Scott is a hard thrower who can pitch multiple innings. He is 3-4 with a 3.98 ERA but has blown two save opportunities.
Both pitchers are under club control for the next three seasons.
Trey Mancini would also be a valuable trade chip because of his power in the middle of the lineup and his ability to play first base, in the outfield and at designated hitter. However, trading Mancini would leave a huge leadership role in the clubhouse and would be a public relations nightmare with the fans.
Mancini is batting .261/.334/.458 with 16 homers and 57 RBIs. He is also a candidate for MLB Comeback Player of the Year after missing the entire 2020 season due to stage 3 colon cancer. Mancini completed six months of chemotherapy and was given a clean bill of health.
“Of course, I want to stay,” Mancini said. “I’ve always said that and I still do. But that is something that I can’t control. It’s a business and I know that, so whatever happens, it happens. I really hope to stay but I understand there is a much bigger picture than just myself. I hope to stay. I think I will. But, at the same time, it’s not anything that I will put much thought into because I really have no say in it.”
John Means would also be an attractive player for other teams, but the Orioles want to build their rotation around the 28-year-old starter. Means is 4-2 with a 2.72 ERA and 0.87 WHIP. He recently returned to the rotation after battling a left shoulder strain.
“It’s one of those things you can’t control, so you try not to think about it,” Means said of the trade deadline. “We’re all just playing this game, trying to stay as long as we possibly can. All that stuff is above our pay grade, so we just want to be able to control what we can control.
“You make relationships, you hold onto them as long as you can because you never know when you’re done playing and you never know when you may go to a different team. We just kind of play day by day and just try to control what we can control.”
Matt Harvey was a player the Orioles would have flipped at the trade deadline had he been performing well, but he has struggled most of the season.
Harvey (4-10, 7.13 ERA) recently put together his best performance of the season, throwing six innings of three-hit ball in the Orioles’ 5-0 victory against the Kansas City Royals on July 23. He earned his first win since May 1 at Oakland, snapping a 12-start winless skid during which he went 0-9 with a 10.20 ERA (51 earned runs in 45 innings).
Outfielder Anthony Santander was the team’s Most Valuable Oriole in 2020, but he missed a month because of a sprained left ankle. He is batting .231/.280/.387 with six homers and 26 RBIs. The Orioles placed Santander on the COVID-19 injured list on July 21 and that further ruled him out for any trade.
Infielders Maikel Franco and Freddy Galvis were also potential trade candidates before they suffered injuries. Franco is on the 10-day injured list because of a sprained right ankle and is batting a meager .221/.265/.376 with nine homers and 42 RBIs. He would not bring back much value.
Galvis is a solid shortstop and could have added infield depth for a contender, but he has not played since June 27 because of a strained right quadriceps. Galvis is batting .249/.306/.414 with nine homers and 26 RBIs.
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