The Orioles’ status at the trade deadline still isn’t decided — though it’s becoming more clear.
They broke their six-game losing streak Saturday night, but are still a game below .500 at 13-14. While the Orioles were never going to be a serious contender to win the AL East, the chance at playing meaningful baseball games in September was an optimistic look at a team many predicted to be the worst in the sport.
Now, they’ve got eight more games until Aug. 31, this year’s trade deadline. And general manager Mike Elias is well aware of the dynamics, and difficulties, that face the team.
“I really don’t know what’s going to happen,” Elias said. “There’s so many dynamics and variables this year. It’s hard to list them all. It could be that nothing happens. It could be that we make three or four trades. I don’t know yet. We’re certainly talking and working on it.”
The Orioles have made it abundantly clear, despite the team’s fast start to the season, they’re not going to sell the future for an increased chance at a playoff spot.
“Despite the fact that our club is playing well and has a good record and is in the mix, we’re still listening on players that are on our major league roster, if it makes sense for our future and for next year and the broader picture,” Elias said. “But we’re not extra motivated to do anything, and we’re listening to baseball trades as they come along.”
Elias added with the difficulties of this season, which include the 60-man player pools, increased playoff format and financial constraints, trades might be more difficult to come by.
The organization, in the two years under Elias and his revamped front office, has added a host of young, talented players to the minor league system. But they’ve yet to mature into big league players, and there’s still a lot of catching up to do.
“I still maintain from a strategic standpoint, from where we started from, with this being a 100-loss team now two years in a row and starting from that point and the total lack of international pipeline that everyone else has, we’ve got some catching up to do on a pipeline front, filling in the farm system,” Elias said. “We’ve made a lot of progress, but we’re still keeping a broad eye on that. With the division we’re in, we’re trying to catch up with the Yankees and the Rays. It’s a high bar.”
Starting pitcher Alex Cobb is someone that could garner interest in a potential deal, as could relief pitcher Mychal Givens and shortstop Jose Iglesias.
All have played, to some extent, well in the 2020 season, which could be enticing to a contending team looking to add another piece, or a team on the fringe who sees the playoffs as a realistic possibility now.
Elias was clear that the team isn’t going to sell what prospects the team has to add a big league player that could increase their chances of making the playoffs. They’re also not going to hang onto a player in the major leagues simply because of the team’s first few weeks of the season. They’re open for business, and if a team wants to deal, the Orioles will listen.
The Orioles are focused on the future more than anything, and this deadline will reflect that.
“We’re looking at it from both angles,” Elias said. “We’re not going to just sell just to sell and get more prospects. But we’re not going to hold onto every single person on the team just because we’re close to a .500 club right now. We’re going to look at everything on a case-by-case basis.”