MLB Trade Deadline: An Update on Potential Orioles Trade Chips
The trade deadline in just over 24 hours away, and the Orioles haven't made any moves so far. A clear seller, Baltimore may be in for big changes as Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehara seem like they need to be moved while their value is high.
Other trade candidates include Derrek Lee, Vladimir Guerrero and Michael Gonzalez, who are all impending free agents.
July 29th's matchup against the Yankees was a huge day for scouts because Guthrie and Uehara both pitched.
Here is a recap of the events of the game and a look at the market for Orioles at the deadline.
July 29 at the Yankees: W 7IP 4H 3BB 1ER 5K
The Orioles' ace did everything he needed to impress the rest of the league and improve his trade value. His final start before the trade deadline came against one of the toughest lineups in the majors, and he was masterful.
Guthrie is probably the best pitcher in reach for many teams. Ubaldo Jimenez is technically available, but most teams are unwilling to pay the price. Hiroki Kuroda is also a good option, but he won't waive his no-trade clause.
Erik Bedard could have pitched his way ahead of Guthrie but returned from the DL to get crushed, only lasting 1.1 innings.
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported that St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Texas had scouts in attendance on Friday. St. Louis, Milwaukee and Texas were probably not there for Guthrie, but Detroit is a legitimate suitor.
Connolly didn't mention Cleveland, but they may have had someone there, as they could look to reacquire their former first-round pick.
Ken Rosenthal reported earlier today that the Orioles were "unmoved" by offers so far, but there is still time left and the dominant start against the Yankees could have changed things. If he does end up getting dealt, I expect Guthrie to go to the Detroit Tigers.
Chris Tillman is starting game one of a double-header Saturday and could be poised to take Guthrie's spot in the rotation after the deadline passes.
July 29 at the Yankees: H 1IP 1H 0BB 0ER 2K
Koji Uehara also got the call on Friday and pitched very well against a tough part of the lineup. He began the inning by striking out Brett Gardner, but followed by allowing a single to Derek Jeter.
Jeter moved to second on an error by Nolan Reimold, but Uehara shook it off to strike out Curtis Granderson. He finished the inning by forcing Mark Teixeira to pop out.
Uehara's scoreless inning gave him 17 scoreless innings in a row, which is the second longest streak in the majors. He has quietly pitched his way to being one of the top relievers in all of baseball.
One interesting statistic discussed on MASN on Friday was that Uehara's career K:BB ratio, which is now at 6.52, is the highest since 1890 for pitchers with more than 150 innings.
That's pretty much the best ever. His incredible control would be an asset to any team looking for shutdown relief.
The market for Uehara is vast. I mentioned in the previous slide that St. Louis, Texas and Milwaukee were not likely at the game for Guthrie and that's because they probably were after Uehara. Koji could be a steal for a team that can't get Heath Bell or Mike Adams.
Uehara's numbers mimic those of Adams. My guess is that St. Louis or Texas gets Uehara, depending on the movements of the Padres relievers.
Update: Uehara was traded to the Texas Rangers for 1B Chris Davis and SP Tommy Hunter.
July 29 at the Yankees: 2-3 2R 2B HR 2RBI 1BB
Derrek Lee seemed like he would certainly be stuck with the Orioles at the deadline because he had done nothing to draw much trade interest, but he has greatly improved his stock since the All-Star break with a huge resurgence.
Lee has hit .321 since the break with three home runs and 13 RBI. He also has a .972 OPS, which could boost his stock. Lee has been a notorious second half hitter and it is no different this year.
The market for first basemen is pretty thin, so he could be on the move.
The two contenders that would probably want Derrek Lee are Pittsburgh and Arizona and according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, both teams had scouts in attendance for the Orioles' series in Toronto this week.
I still expect Lee to go in August, but Arizona and Pittsburgh both need help right now, and Lee has been tearing it up lately, so I wouldn't be surprised if a team pulled the trigger.
July 29 at the Yankees: 1-3 1R
Vladimir Guerrero hasn't done much to be worthy of a trade. His performance lately has been alright, but teams aren't really pushing for him yet.
I could see the market for Guerrero getting hot in August. NL playoff teams like to have experienced DHs on their bench because they are used to being on the bench and are accustomed to being the DH if said NL team makes the World Series.
Before then, I wouldn't expect Guerrero to go anywhere. His contract will probably scare people off until they only have to pay for the final month of it.
Last Appearance: 1IP 1H 0ER
Mike Gonzalez hasn't pitched in a while, which could be a sign that the Orioles are probably not shopping him and he won't be moved, but he is a left-handed pitcher in the final year of his contract, so I would not put it past a team to make a trade for Gonzalez.
Left handed relief always seems to be a must for a playoff team, so the Orioles might get calls, but they won't get much in return because Gonzalez is making a lot of money this year and hasn't performed very well.
His ERA is 5.66 and batters are hitting .294 off of him. The diminished workload is partly due to a suspension, but Buck Showalter hasn't used him much because he isn't doing that well too.
Like Guerrero, Gonzalez may also be a waiver trade candidate, but you never know. Gonzalez will likely pitch in one of the games of the double-header today, so he could pick up a suitor just before the deadline.