ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A week from now, the non-waiver trade deadline comes, and not a moment too soon.
Just two days ago, Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said that the team would be looking to add players—and not subtract—at the deadline.
That was before the second of three straight losses to the New York Yankees that dropped the Orioles to two games below .500 and seven games out in the American League East.
As they begin a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Orioles are 4 ½ games out of the second wild card spot.
After the Orioles beat the Detroit Tigers for the second straight time last Sunday, the talented Foxsports.com reporter Jon Morosi wrote that the team was taking a look at San Diego’s Justin Upton. His colleague, Ken Rosenthal said that the Orioles also had interest in Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez.
Morosi later added that the Orioles were also interested in Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto.
Earlier today, Morosi tweeted that the Orioles are now considering selling instead of buying, which was totally different than what Duquette told a handful of reporters in New York on Wednesday.
Rosenthal followed up and suggested the team might want to sell off Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters because they’re all represented by Scott Boras, who is determined to take the players to free agency.
The Orioles have long been prepared for Chen, Davis and Wieters to sign elsewhere. They would make qualifying offers to all three and receive a compensation pick when they signed elsewhere.
If they trade any of them, the acquiring team is not allowed to make a qualifying offer and receive a draft pick.
The Orioles would have to believe that the players they would receive for Chen, Davis or Wieters could be more valuable than a high draft pick.
As it stands, the team could have as many as seven picks among the first 70 draft choices next June.
Besides picks for Chen, Davis and Wieters, they have their own picks in the first two rounds, a compensation pick for failure to sign last month’s second rounder, high school pitcher Jonathan Hughes, and a pick in the competitive balance rounds.
Of course, if they sign a top-ranking free agent as they did in 2014 with Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez, they lose a top pick.
If the Orioles have a successful weekend at Tampa Bay, you may be reading a whole other set of tweets early next week indicating they’re back to being buyers.
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