Grading the Baltimore Orioles 2013 Deadline Deals at Season's End

Drew ReynoldsContributor IIISeptember 29, 2013

Grading the Baltimore Orioles 2013 Deadline Deals at Season's End

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    Although their 85-77 record is respectable, the Baltimore Orioles failed in their quest to return to the postseason for the second straight year.

    Unlike last season, the Orioles were extremely active at this year's trade deadline, as they made four key acquisitions trying to keep pace in the race for the playoffs.

    While some of  those trades were helpful, others hurt more than helped.

    Here are the final grades for all the deadline deals the Orioles made in 2013.

Scott Feldman Trade

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    Trade (July 2):

    Orioles receive RHP Scott Feldman and C Steve Clevenger.

    Cubs receive RHP Jake Arrieta and RHP Pedro Strop.

    This trade between the Orioles and the Cubs took place in early July as the Orioles were looking to add some starting pitching depth and the Cubs were looking to ship Scott Feldman, a solid starter on a bad team in the last year of his contract.

    Although Feldman's season with the Orioles started out iffy and ended horribly as he allowed eight runs in 2.1 innings in his final start of the season on Saturday, he was arguably the Orioles' best starter for a month-long period between August and September.

    Arrieta and Strop both improved dramatically in their time with the Cubs. However, the Orioles can't be too upset at what they gave up. Both pitchers needed a change of scenery. Arrieta couldn't get out of his own head and Strop was booed by Orioles fans as he entered games.

    Overall, it was a pretty good trade for both parties involved. The Orioles got a starter who, while not terrific, was decent and gave them valuable innings, while the Cubs got two young arms with potential who could make their team better next year. The O's also got Steve Clevenger, who could possibly be their backup catcher in 2014.

    Grade: B

Francisco Rodriguez Trade

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    Trade (July 23):

    Orioles Receive RHP Francisco Rodriguez.

    Brewers Receive 3B Nick Delmonico.

    When the Orioles acquired K-Rod from the Milwaukee Brewers, it looked as if they solidified a struggling bullpen, as they added a four-time All-Star with plenty of experience in high-pressure situations.

    Although the bullpen did improve, especially in September, it wasn't really Rodriguez's doing. The 31-year-old never really settled in with the Orioles.

    It can be argued that he wasn't used correctly by manager Buck Showalter. Throughout his career, K-Rod had generally been used as a closer, or at least a set-up man. However, in his time with Baltimore, he was generally used in the seventh, or in games that were well in hand or out of reach.

    Despite Jim Johnson's continued inconsistency, Showalter never called on Rodriguez for a save opportunity.

    Luckily for the Orioles, they didn't give up a whole lot to acquire K-Rod.

    Nick Delmonico had shown plenty of power in his time with the Orioles' organization, but injuries and inconsistency in terms of hitting for an average made him expendable.

    In 61 games with the Orioles Advanced-A affiliate this season Delmonico hit 13 home runs and average .243. In 21 games with the Brewers Advanced-A affiliate, he failed to hit a home run and only hit .194.

    Still, Delmonico is only 21, so he has plenty of time to prove the Orioles wrong.

    Grade: C

Bud Norris Deadline Day Trade

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    Trade (July 31):

    Orioles receive RHP Bud Norris.

    Astros receive OF L.J. Hoes and LHP Josh Hader.

    Bud Norris' 2013 season with the Orioles isn't as bad as it initially looks.

    His final record with the Orioles is 4-3. However, two of those losses came in emergency relief appearances in extra innings. As a starter, Norris went 4-1, and the O's won seven of the nine games he started. While he wasn't terrific in a few of those starts, he was nonetheless a solid pitcher for the Orioles down the stretch, although injuries did cost him a few starts in September. He is still under contract for 2014.

    The biggest issue with this trade—and what could make it a losing trade for the Orioles—is the fact that they gave up two prospects who are showing plenty of promise.

    When the trade occurred, it seemed as if the O's simply had no room to keep outfielder L.J. Hoes, who was deserving of major league time. However, with Nate McLouth and Nick Markakis both struggling down the stretch, their futures may be in doubt. McLouth is set to hit free agency this offseason, while Markakis has a team option in 2015 of $17.5 million, which is a ton for a player of his caliber.

    Josh Hader also can't be forgotten in this trade. The 19-year-old has been nothing short of outstanding in his time in professional baseball, whether it be with the Baltimore or Houston organizations.

    Overall, this trade still has to play its course. It involves young prospects and Norris has at least one more year left with the O's. This makes the following grade somewhat meaningless as of now. But after the 2014 season, the winner(s) of this trade may be easier to see.

    Grade: C+

Michael Morse Waiver-Trade

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    Trade (August 30):

    Orioles receive OF Michael Morse.

    Mariners receive OF Xavier Avery.

    Even though the Orioles managed to acquire Morse relatively cheaply, it was still a complete failure of a trade, as it accomplished nothing except a lost prospect.

    Morse was never able to get steady at-bats with the Orioles. He was ineffective when he played and Danny Valencia's bat was too hot to keep out of the lineup.

    Basically, the Orioles gave up a very athletic prospect in Xavier Avery for a guy who went 3-for-29 with three singles and will likely be lost to free agency in the offseason.

    If the O's can somehow re-sign Morse in the offseason and he returns to be the player that he was with the Nationals in 2011 and 2012, then maybe the trade won't be a total loss. But as for now, the trade was nothing short of a failure.

    Grade: F