After a 4-5 road trip that saw the Orioles win two out of three series but get totally swept in the other one, the Orioles stare down the trade deadline, only four days away, from the wrong side of a .500 record. They stare up at the division leading Yankees from a seven game hole in which they have mostly dug for themselves. So where does that leave them? Buy or sell?
The latest on Monday afternoon, something like 99 hours short of the trade deadline, comes from ESPN's Jayson Stark, who writes that the Orioles are out there "listening to everything" as far as teams making offers for their players. However, he also adds that the rest of the league doesn't actually believe the Orioles will end up selling.
What's that tell us? Probably nothing we didn't know already, but it's still interesting to hear at this point in time that's the belief. Stark's reporting suggests he hasn't actually talked to an Orioles source himself, rather speaking to people who have spoken to the Orioles. Of course, those are the ones who'd actually be making trades with the team.
Whether they should sell or buy is still a hard question to figure out. There's a cost to punting on the season. There's a cost to trying to salvage the season. There's a cost for doing nothing. Everybody has a different opinion on which cost is the one that should be paid, and that's probably true within the organization as well.
And the answer could easily change over the next four days. I was adamantly against the very consideration of the Orioles being sellers at the deadline, yet getting swept in New York made the picture so much tougher for the team.
Not that they should give up on the season because of one bad series, either. They're only 3.5 games out of a wild card spot even with all the struggles they have encountered at different times this season. But what if disaster strikes and they get themselves swept by the Braves too, with the Yankees going in and taking games from the Rangers at the same time?
A double digit deficit would almost demand that the team sell off some assets like Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, or Wei-Yin Chen to get potential future contributors. If it gets to that point, it's good to have already listened to the offers so you can have some time to evaluate which one is the best.
Hopefully the Orioles put together a nice winning streak over the next few days so the idea of selling can be banished to the depths of loserdom where it belongs.
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