Dan Duquette was in the midst of numerous pennant races when he was general manager of the Boston Red Sox. Even though praise was heaped upon then boy wonder GM Theo Epstein when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, it was Duquette who assembled most of that ballclub’s key parts.
After an extended hiatus from Major League Baseball, Duquette is back in the front office chair as executive vice president of baseball operations, and his Baltimore Orioles are surprisingly fighting for one of the two wild card spots. Duquette was known for not being shy at the trade deadline in Boston, so he will likely be getting little sleep leading to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
At 51-46 after Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay, the Orioles are 1.5 games behind Oakland for the second wild card spot and two games in back of the Angels for the top wild card position (before all games were completed on Tuesday). Knowing this, Duquette has told the media that his team will indeed be buyers as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline draws closer.
According to MLB.com, Baltimore will not trade right-handed starting pitching phenom Dylan Bundy or standout shortstop prospect Manny Machado. MLB.com also reported that the Orioles are not likely to trade promising young starting pitchers Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz, though both have struggled and found themselves uprooted from the Opening Day rotation to Triple-A Norfolk at different points this season.
Baltimore has been linked to Hanley Ramirez, Chase Headley, Placido Polanco and Bryan LaHair in recent days since the team wants to upgrade its production at the corner infield spots. Boston Globe baseball writer reported that the Marlins and Orioles are heavily involved in trade talks. Could those discussions be centered around Ramiirez or perhaps Carlos Lee?
Manager Bucky Showalter’s starting rotation includes sharp left-hander Wei-Yen Chen, but right-hander Jason Hammel is on the 15-day disabled list, and Matusz and Arrieta are at Triple-A. Baltimore is relying on starts from Chris Tillman (who has a career 5.23 ERA in the majors), journeyman Miguel Gonzalez and left-hander Zach Britton (who was called up from Norfolk).
Simply put, the Orioles desperately need starting pitching.
The Orioles are not going to trade young core players like Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters, and Duquette has indicated that Bundy and Machado are off limits, so it is uncertain if they have enough to land a Greinke or a Johnson. Vargas appears to be the most feasible starting pitching trade target.