The 2013 trade deadline was one of the more quiet trade deadline days in recent memory. With only a few moves being made, there wasn't much intrigue that day prior to the 4 p.m. ET deadline.
However, the Baltimore Orioles were one team to make a move just minutes before the deadline hit, and overall, they made three trades during June and July to help bolster their pitching staff.
The Orioles were the team to kick off the trading season with the first major trade when they dealt pitchers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop to the Chicago Cubs for right-handed starter Scott Feldman and minor league catcher Steve Clevenger. A veteran starter, Feldman is known for being able to provide innings and giving his team a chance to win more times than not.
Feldman is no ace, but he's a solid back-of-the-rotation starter and a veteran presence who was acquired to help solidify a struggling rotation, a rotation that was having an especially hard time at the point Feldman was acquired due mostly to key starters (Gonzalez, Chen) having spent time on the DL.
Next, the O's acquired right-handed late-inning reliever Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers for infield prospect Nicky Delmonico. The O's were high on Delmonico mostly due to his power potential, but they felt that the future was now and Delmonico was still a ways away. Plus, they wanted to prevent any division rivals from trading for his services (namely the Boston Red Sox).
Most fans know Rodriguez, known as K-Rod, as the single-season saves record holder from his days with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. No longer a closer specifically, Rodriguez is still an extremely effective late-inning reliever who can close a game when need be; for example, if O's closer Jim Johnson needs a night off after pitching two or three straight days.
And for the move mentioned above, the O's traded for the Houston Astros' Opening Day pitcher Bud Norris, a righty who's been around a couple years with reliable numbers. In my opinion, the O's didn't give up too much for Norris as they dealt outfielder L.J. Hoes, left-handed pitching prospect Josh Hader and a 2014 Competitive Round draft pick.
Rumors swirled around Norris for most of the season, since the Astros are a rebuilding club and Norris was one of the few attractive trade chips that team had to offer. Demands were reportedly high for Norris all trade season, but the Orioles were able to talk the Astros down to a point where they felt comfortable.
The Orioles were able to acquire two starting pitchers to slot at the back end of their rotation and a reliever who can be used in multiple roles. While these acquisitions won't set the world on fire, the Birds seemingly solidified a couple of problem areas for them.
A rotation of Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman, Bud Norris and Scott Feldman looks very solid from front to back, as all five of those guys are known for giving quality outings more times than not.
On top of that, Chen, Gonzalez and Tillman look to be growing into front-of-the-rotation types who can go toe-to-toe with some of the game's best and give the O's a fighting chance.
In K-Rod's instance, as I mentioned before, he's been a closer before and he can be used in a variety of late-inning roles, helping to take some pressure off the rest of the bullpen, namely guys like Johnson, Darren O'Day and Tommy Hunter.
On the flip side, the O's didn't give up a ton in order to bolster their big league club. Arrieta and Strop were only hurting the O's when they'd pitch for the team, and Hoes projected to be a fourth outfielder on the team due to the Orioles' incredible quality depth at the position.
Delmonico and Hader may grow into players that the O's had wished they held on to, but they were both low-level minor league guys who are too young to reliably project and to help the parent club anytime soon. With the O's in a pennant race, the time to try to win is now, and a team has to give up something in order to get something.
While there were a couple of aces on the market (Jake Peavy and Matt Garza) and it would have been fantastic to see those guys in an Orioles uniform at the top of the Orioles' rotation, the team would have been required to give up too much than it can afford in order to get one of them.
The O's don't have the deepest farm system, though it is getting progressively better, and it just wouldn't have been smart to compromise that much of the future in order for a chance to win now.
Feldman is a free agent at season's end, and Norris will be on the team next year. Further, with minor league guys like Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman that the O's hope will grow into aces at the big-league level, plus Tillman showing signs of heading in that direction, the O's have to keep the future in mind even though they're trying to win now.
The O's added some quality depth this trade season, and while these acquisitions may not be overwhelming, this writer would be surprised if they didn't help the O's make a strong push for a playoff spot and eventually lock one up.
The Orioles were smart this trade season.
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