Winners of five straight and currently in position to claim one of the two American League wild card berths, the Baltimore Orioles still remain in the thick of the postseason discussion.
Sure, their negative 44 run differential is atrocious.
Have they been lucky? Absolutely.
Is anyone predicting them to make the playoffs? Not really.
But it's almost August, folks.
Perhaps this season will just be inexplicably charmed.
However you slice it, the Orioles are buyers as we near the trading deadline. As reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX sports, GM Dan Duquette insists that the Orioles' "future is now" and that the team "will do anything (it) can to get to the playoffs this year."
So what can the Orioles do? And what moves could we possibly see made before next Tuesday?
Let's break it down.
It's no secret that the Orioles starting rotation needs some major help.
Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta are trying to regroup in the minors. Staff ace Jason Hammel just underwent knee surgery and will be out for three to four more weeks.
That leaves the Orioles with Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Zach Britton and Tommy Hunter.
Not exactly the most intimidating rotation, especially during the middle of a playoff push.
Enter Jason Vargas.
With the Orioles reportedly inquiring about the left-hander, Vargas would be a solid addition to the middle of the rotation. His season stat line (3.91 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) is respectable, and he has only given up five earned runs over his last 29 innings pitched.
Remember what I just said about the Orioles pitching staff?
Take that lead, place it here, and replace Jason Vargas with Bartolo Colon.
Colon, a 39-year-old right-hander who would most likely only be good for the two-month rental during which Orioles would grab him, is sporting a 3.88 ERA on the season to go along with a 1.25 WHIP.
Nothing spectacular, but just another innings-eater type pitcher who could certainly bolster their staff without costing the farm.
Plus, Billy Beane has never been one to balk at moving a 39-year-old pitcher, especially if he can get some sort of value in return.
While the starting pitching need is glaring, GM Dan Duquette also noted that an offensive table setter is high on the Orioles' needs list.
Even though the prototypical leadoff hitter might not be readily available on the market, Duquette is concerned about on-base percentage more than anything. The Orioles need high-OBP guys in front of their power hitting lineup, in order to maximize run production.
Chase Headley and his current .362 OBP would certainly do the trick.
Problem is, the Orioles are not the only team interested in Headley's services, and the Padres might have too high of an asking price for the Orioles to strike a deal.
If the Baltimore Orioles truly wanted to make a move that would announce their presence as serious playoff contenders, acquiring Milwaukee Brewers' right-hander Zack Greinke would accomplish that task.
Greinke is on track to make his next start on Tuesday, after being skipped out of the All-Star break due to fatigue. If he puts up a Greinke-like showing, the Orioles would be one of many teams with dreams of landing the free-agent-to-be ace before the trade deadline, and he surely wouldn't be cheap.
The bottom line comes down to whether or not it is worth selling the farm for a two month use of Greinke's services. He will be a free-agent at the end of the season, and there is no guarantee that he will stay with any team who makes a move for him before the deadline.
The Orioles should be very cautious about moving top prospects Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado, and it will be interesting to see if the Brewers would complete the deal without either one of those two included.