There’s now just about 24 hours to go until the MLB non-waiver trade deadline. If the Orioles are waiting until the last minute to make their move, their time is approaching.
One possible move that’s still in play for the O’s is a trade for Philadelphia’s Jeremy Hellickson. The Orioles have been linked here and there to Hellickson for most of the month of July and as we get down to the wire, that’s still happening. Fox’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles are “among the top contenders” to land Hellickson. Morosi included the Giants in the contenders as well.
Whether or not that would actually be a good thing for the Orioles is a different question. Hellickson is a two month rental and within the last week or so, the Phillies were said to be looking for “one of your top five prospects” or else they’d just keep Hellickson and make him a qualifying offer at the end of the year.
The top five prospects comment was more about teams in general, not the Orioles specifically. The Orioles, with their poor farm system, would probably need more than just one of their top five prospects to make a deal happen, if that’s what the Phillies are really looking for.
The Orioles can’t afford to keep flushing away prospects on bad deals made out of misguided optimism that they might make a difference. That’s the biggest concern. Though Hellickson has had some good results of late, a 2.49 ERA over his last eight starts, most of those came against some very bad offenses. Facing the Red Sox or Blue Jays would be a different story.
There’s little doubt the Orioles rotation needs to improve. Would Hellickson be so much better than Vance Worley to be worth the prospect cost? Dan Duquette knows his prospects and his rotation options better than anyone on the outside, so if he thinks yes, that should be worth something. Which doesn’t mean he’d be proven right in the long run.
It wouldn’t be a very exciting trade. That doesn’t make it a bad hypothetical trade. And it might not even happen anyway, because other teams need starting pitchers also and other teams have more and better prospects than the Orioles do.
The Orioles might trade for someone else or they might trade for no one at all. With the offense slumping the way that it is, a trade for a starter almost doesn’t even matter. The slump, presumably, won’t last forever.