Earlier today, the Orioles were deemed unlikely to be sellers based on one report on feelings around the league. That same reporter, ESPN's Jayson Stark, is back with another rumor that indicates just the opposite - the Orioles are looking to be buyers, specifically having discussions with the San Diego Padres about outfielder Justin Upton. According to Stark, there was also the possibility of a larger deal that might include a starting pitcher such as Tyson Ross or Andrew Cashner.
Upton is a free agent-to-be who with a .251/.330/.429 slash line, is having the worst season at the plate he's had since his rookie year. That's still not a terrible number, though. While Petco Park is known as a pitcher's park, Upton has good numbers there this year, so that is not the root of his struggle. He has a $14.5 million salary for 2015. If the O's don't get any salary from the Padres, they'd be on the hook for about $5 million to Upton.
There's not any indication about what the Orioles might have to send to get Upton or anybody else out of those names. We can only guess that the likes of Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, and Hunter Harvey would remain untouchable. That may not be true. And if the deal was expanded to include Ross or Cashner, the O's would naturally have to give up a greater return.
Ross is a 28-year-old, 6'5" right-handed starter who has been racking up the strikeouts the past three seasons. He's making $5.25 million this year and has two arbitration years remaining after this. Ross has struck out 132 batters in 122.2 innings. That's pretty good! He's also walked 57 batters in that time this season. That's not so good. And of course we all know how the Orioles do with fixing pitchers whose problem is walks.
Cashner, turning 29 in September, is also a 6'5" right-handed starter who gets a respectable number of strikeouts. He's notched 102 in 116.2 innings this season. His real problem is giving up a bunch of home runs, so in that sense he'd fit right in on the Orioles. Cashner is under contract through the 2016 season.
Remember always the first law of baseball rumors: Probably nothing will happen. We don't know how fruitful a "discussed" deal might have been or whether they're likely to revisit it in the coming days. We don't know if it was the Orioles who shied away or the Padres side.
Even a rumor is more exciting than nothing, though. And doing nothing is probably the most dangerous potential Orioles trade deadline action of all.