Following the Orioles' acquisition of Scott Feldman from the Chicago Cubs, Jon Heyman reported that the Orioles were probably "tapped out" financially and would be unable to add any further payroll. Tonight, he's changed his mind, with a report indicating that sources say the Orioles are "in the mix" for Jake Peavy and other pitchers on the trading block.
The 2007 NL Cy Young winner is considered one of the top pitchers available as the trading deadline approaches. He has a 4.28 ERA in 13 starts this season. What would it cost to get Peavy? Who knows, but other reports about White Sox trade targets have indicated they are making aggressive requests for trades - things that should probably be far more than the O's should pay.
Any upgrade over Jason Hammel in the rotation is more than the team has right now, but is Peavy that upgrade? He's given up 14 home runs in 80 innings and the Orioles already have their share of pitchers that can do that. A 1.14 WHIP is not bad at all, but it's a lot of salary to take on. Peavy is making $14.5 million this season and next, so the Orioles would be on the hook for all of next season's salary and the rest of this one's while giving up prospect(s), possibly top prospect(s), from their thin minor league system.
Heyman also notes that Ervin Santana of the Royals and Bud Norris of the Astros are available, without any specific information tying the O's to those players. The same is true for Cliff Lee, who could end up getting traded from Philadelphia, if their GM stops thinking that they are buyers. Lee is making $25 million each of the next two seasons after this. The Orioles may be "loosening the pursestrings", as Heyman puts it, but do they have that much in the purse?
Santana would be a free agent at the end of the season, while Norris would be under team control through the 2015 season and getting increasingly expensive in arbitration. Santana was most recently seen by Orioles fans shutting the team down, and with a 3.06 ERA in 138.1 innings this season, he's been one of the best starters in the AL. Norris has a 3.93 ERA with a 1.41 WHIP. No thanks.
How much smoke is there behind this rumor? Who knows? If there's one thing I've learned about trade rumors, it's that 95% of them or more amount to nothing. Maybe the O's are willing to add payroll but not part with prospects. Maybe they aren't even willing to add payroll. Maybe they'll trade for Lee out of left field - laying in the weeds, if you will - but probably nothing will happen.
The trade deadline is July 31, so you've got three days left to dream, Birdland. Maybe the Orioles will actually win a game before then and keep themselves in the race.