The Baltimore Orioles are playing decent ball halfway into the season for the first time since 2005, and with that decent play, they're going to be looking to improve the team for a run at the playoffs this year.
Problem is, they don't have much to work with in terms of what they can deal.
This team sorely needs improvements in both their defense and starting pitching, but in order to acquire anything of worth, they would, of course, have to deal worth.
Most of their worth is considered untouchable.
Still, there are a few players who could help bring back valuable pieces at the trade deadline. Who knows, maybe GM Dan Duquette will pull of a shrewd deal or two.
With help from this piece.
Kevin Gregg is included on this for the simple reason that the team wants to get rid of him. Or at least, that's the assumption. And I don't feel like I'm going out on a limb with that one.
Gregg has been pretty much awful since he signed a two-year deal prior to the 2011 season, considering what role he was signed for. He lost his closer role late last season to Jim Johnson. Thank God for that one, since Johnson has been a beast in that role this season.
The righty wouldn't bring back much; he'd pretty much be a throw-in in any type of deal. Still though, he could be a little enticing for a team desperate for bullpen help. He really isn't a terrible pitcher, he's just used in the wrong way by everyone. The man is not a late-inning pitcher.
Right-hander Chris Tillman isn't exactly on the market, but I think the O's wouldn't be opposed to moving him in the right deal. He's still young enough (24) to be considered somewhat of a prospect with upside, but he's had enough failure in the majors to worry people.
He definitely wouldn't be a deal-maker, but he could be a nice number two or three piece in any deal.
Tillman certainly wouldn't hurt any potential deals. Teams love young pitchers with possible upside, and Tillman still falls into that category.
Defensively-challenged and strikeout-prone Mark Reynolds won't be an Oriole for much longer, whether it comes at the trade deadline or this winter.
The O's almost certainly won't be picking up his option at the end of the year, making him a free agent, so they would be wise to try and get something for him this summer, especially considering the type of player he is is the last thing they need.
Like Gregg, Reynolds would be a throw-in in a larger deal, or just someone the team trades to fill the farm with one or two iffy prospects that they could possibly flip. A team desperate for some pop may take interest in Reynolds.
However, the O's should shop him as a DH, as he is just atrocious in the field. Which means only 13 other clubs could be possible matches.
Trading Reynolds could be tricky, but the O's have way too many bad fielders on their team.
Jonathan Schoop is highly-regarded within the Orioles' system, and he's basically the best (and only) prospect the O's can afford dealing.
He has pretty good upside, but not enough to be the centerpiece of a big deal, much like current O's center fielder Adam Jones was in the deal that brought him to Charm City.
Even still, including Schoop would sweeten any deal. I'm positive that any other team in baseball would be thrilled to have a player like him in their minor league system.
The only way he gets moved is for a legitimate front-line starter, though. Otherwise, the O's will be keeping him.
Much like Reynolds, Nick Johnson needs to be dealt simply because of the overflow of DH-types that the Orioles currently posses.
Johnson would bring back virtually nothing; maybe a low-level filler minor leaguer. However, the O's would benefit from simply having him off their team and replaced with someone who is a good defender.
With the recent addition of Jim Thome, Johnson has become expendable, and pretty much useless to the club. It sounds harsh, but Thome is virtually a better, healthier version of Johnson.
Of course, Johnson could always just be sent down, since he's signed to a minor league deal. One way or another, he needs to be removed from the team once his DL stint ends.
It's crazy, I know. But it had to be mentioned.
When the Orioles inquire about other players, such as the Milwaukee Brewers' Zack Greinke or the Chicago Cubs' Matt Garza, you know that the first players on that other team's GM's mind will be these two.
Manny Machado (pictured) is considered the shortstop of the future for Baltimore, while Dylan Bundy is expected to anchor the front of the starting rotation.
Trading either one of these talents would be crazy, but hey, anything is possible. Either one of them would bring back a great player, in a package of prospects of course, so that could be enough to tempt Duquette to pull the trigger. Especially since these two are about all that the Birds have to deal of any worth.
I would place money on it not happening, but it was worth mentioning.