Chances of Possible Orioles Trades Actually Happening
The summer trade season has officially begun.
With the Fourth of July blockbuster that sent Chicago Cubs pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics, it's safe to say that the MLB summer trading market is open for business.
However, with two of the more desirable names off the market in one move, the tricky part for teams looking to acquire talent this July will be finding valuable players they can afford.
The Baltimore Orioles could be one of those teams looking to add help, and it will be interesting to see whether they decide to go after big-name talent or lesser players who are complementary pieces.
The rumor mill has already been churning prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and naturally the O's have been right in the middle of it.
Let's take a look at the chances Baltimore will pick up any of the available names.
David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
With Samardzija and Hammel now off the market, David Price is going to be the most sought-after man this summer.
Though the Tampa Bay Rays have come around as of late, winning eight of their last 10, they still remain well out of contention at 8.5 games out of the wild-card race. They could be looking to deal a player or two in order to continue to build for the future, as they always seem to be doing.
The O's haven't been mentioned as a potential landing spot for the lefty, but anything is possible during the summer trade season.
Price would cost a ton to land, in terms of prospects, and he'll only get pricier in his final year of arbitration before he's scheduled to hit free agency after the 2015 season. If the O's are going to make a run at him, they had better be ready to spend big.
In the grand scheme of things, the O's bullpen isn't a problem. They have some great pieces, and typically the group performs well day in and day out.
However, some players, such as left-hander Brian Matusz (5.04 ERA, 30.1 IP), have struggled this season, and every so often the bullpen has a day where nothing seems to go right.
Typically, a contending team will look to improve its bullpen during the summer as relievers are relatively cheap in terms of contract cost as well as prospect cost.
The O's could be in that exact situation this summer, figuring that if they can't make major improvements to their biggest needs (such as second base), then they'll add to a relative strength to make the team better as a whole.
Look for the O's to be active in the bullpen market this summer.
Seth Smith, San Diego Padres
The idea of the Orioles making a push for San Diego Padres outfielder Seth Smith had previously been floated by O's fans on the Internet, including myself, and never had any real substantial backing to it in terms of legitimate rumors.
With the two-year, $13 million contract extension that Smith got from the Padres last week, it now seems very unlikely that the team will be shopping Smith this summer.
That's really a shame for the O's, as they could have used a left-handed platoon outfielder with his abilities.
There would be no reason for San Diego to move him now, unless it's overwhelmed in a deal. And that likely won't happen, as—with all respect due to Smith and his .273/.373/.490 slash line—he simply isn't worth giving up too much for.
Second Base Help
As far as needs go, second base is probably the biggest for the Orioles, as the combination of Ryan Flaherty (.230/.305/.360) and Jonathan Schoop (.223/.263/.330) just hasn't produced well enough offensively for the club.
The thing is, there are no obvious trade solutions for the team. The Milwaukee Brewers could deal Rickie Weeks, but he's tied to a big contract and hasn't exactly been better than what the Birds currently have.
Ideally, the best option for the O's would be Chase Utley (.289/.349/.443) of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies (39-51) have struggled yet again this year and look to need to begin a rebuilding of their roster.
However, the team appears reluctant to enter a rebuilding phase, and even as recently as this past offseason it added more older players to its roster in an attempt to contend.
Utley just signed an extension with the club last season, so it appears as though he wants to stay in Philadelphia for the long haul. Utley also has 10-and-5 rights, meaning he can't be traded without his approval. And for the trade to make sense for Philadelphia, the O's would need to be sending the team some good prospects and/or assuming most or all of his remaining contract.
Wouldn't Utley's bat look great in the O's lineup, though?
Regardless of whether the O's make a push for Utley, expect them to have their eye on the second base market this summer.