A Baltimore Orioles player’s hat and glove sit in the grass. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
The Baltimore Orioles faced a serious concern as they entered the third week of action following the All-Star break.
With a sub-.500 record, Baltimore stood seven games off the lead in the AL East as of July 26. A three-game series sweep at the hands of the division-leading New York Yankees hurt the Orioles to the point that some baseball pundits have questioned whether the team still has a realistic chance of reaching the playoffs.
That legitimate question leaves the O’s stuck between a rock and a hard place with the trade deadline set for July 31. Should Baltimore try to trade for an impact player to better its chances of competing through the second half of the season, or would that be pointless because the Orioles’ postseason hopes are too far-fetched at this point?
If the Orioles do consider making a trade, it would more than likely be for an outfielder with solid batting skills. Rumors have circulated that Baltimore is interested in trading for Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino or Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford. Both Crawford and Victorino would be upgrade for an O’s team that depends too heavily on All Star center fielder Adam Jones to defend the outfield alone. The move could also benefit the lineup, which has played average at best in recent weeks.
Baltimore could also consider trading for a true ace pitcher. The starting rotation still lacks a pitcher the team can rely on to perform consistently each and every time he takes the mound.
But such moves would perhaps require Baltimore to give up some of its best young prospects in the minor leagues, or would come at the sacrifice of giving away some of its best young talent already on the team, such starting pitcher Kevin Gausman.
Trading away a future for veterans may not be what’s best for the Orioles in the years to come, especially if the team still manages to miss the playoff after making the trade. Whatever Baltimore’s brass decides to do, expect it to happen soon. Stay tuned.