Buckle up, Orioles fans. It's trade season. Fresh off taking two out of three from the Tigers comes a rumor right off the wire from Jon Morosi of Fox Sports: The Orioles have "expressed interest" in the Padres' outfielder, Justin Upton. How exciting!
Before getting too deep in euphoria - or panic, over what the Orioles might possibly give up to acquire Upton - always remember the first law of baseball rumors. Probably nothing will happen. Someone will likely trade for Upton, and we'll hear lots of rumors about who it will be. Most of them will be wrong and it probably won't be the Orioles who end up getting him.
The Orioles, you have probably noticed, could use some help at the corner outfield spots. Either one, really. Upton, a three-time All-Star, is batting .252/.331/.426 in 89 games with the Padres this season. That's a down year for the 27-year-old pending free agent, and the explanation for why does not lie in his home/away splits. He actually has a .919 OPS at home in what's generally regarded as a pitcher's park in Petco.
Other splits are also not what you'd expect. Upton bats to an .823 OPS against right-handed pitching this season. He is a right-handed batter. He only his lefties to a .469 OPS. That is not in line with his career numbers against lefties at all. Maybe he is suffering from having lefties like Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner in his division. Actually, looking up his career numbers, he is in fact awful against Kershaw, as are most human beings, though he's hit Bumgarner well.
But seriously, who are the Orioles going to have to offer for Upton? Even though he's just going to be a two month rental, he's still valuable as a player with a track record of above-average performance. Many teams who could use an outfielder or a right-handed power bat will be wanting to get in on that market, and probably most or all of those teams have more certain top-end prospects, as well as more prospect depth in general, than do the O's.
More likely, the trade market will play out as it has done the last couple of seasons. The Orioles are linked to one of the best players available. A few days later they're linked to a still good, but not as good player. A few days later still they're linked to an OK player. Then they'll grab the recently-DFA'd Alex Presley off the scrap heap and call it an upgrade.
It's fun to dream for a few minutes about adding a star to the outfield for the rest of the season, though. Maybe that's just what this team needs to make a run.