The MLB trade deadline came and went at 4 p.m. ET on Monday. Prior to that, the Orioles made two deals. Both trades are of the “ho hum” variety, with neither making the Birds a surefire World Series team. However, many of the clubs that they are battling with for playoff spots didn’t get that much better either, leaving the door wide open for an orange October.
The deals that were done
The two players the O’s managed to nab were left-handed pitcher Wade Miley from the Mariners and utility-man Steve Pearce from the Rays. As said above, these guys aren’t world beaters, but they make the team a touch better...seriously, like “a grain of salt” better
Miley will likely slot right into the Orioles atrocious rotation and, in all likelihood, push Tyler Wilson back down to Triple-A Norfolk. Pearce is the kind of flexible bat that manager Buck Showalter likes having around. He can spend time at first base, second base and the corner outfield positions. On top of that, he has been crushing southpaws to the tune of a .377/.476/.736 line. If you didn’t know, the O’s stink against lefties, so he is a somewhat significant piece. But it would have been great to re-sign him back in January rather than give up a coveted prospect.
To get these new guys, two Birds had to fly the coop. Ariel Miranda, a 27-year-old left-handed pitcher, goes to Seattle. You probably won’t miss him. Jonah Heim, a 21-year-old catcher, is headed to Tampa. That one may come back to bite. Heim is an excellent defender, but he struggles with the bat. As a catcher, the glove will always be more important than the bat, but both do matter. Overall, these are not two absolute stud prospects that the O’s gave up, and you can be happy about that.
Tampa and New York were both sellers to varying degrees. That makes them each weaker in the short term at least and, theoretically, easier for the O’s to beat, but it also makes them easier for the Birds rivals. So, that aspect is kind of a wash.
The Blue Jays added outfielder Melvin Upton Jr., pitchers Scott Feldman, Francisco Liriano, Joaquin Benoit and Mike Bolsinger. Uh, those are certainly some, uh, interesting moves there.
Boston was linked to just about everyone, but ended up landing only a few pieces. Their big get was Drew Pomeranz a few weeks ago. On deadline day they added lefty Fernando Abad to their bullpen. He will join fellow newbie Brad Ziegler in their ailing relief corps.
Around the AL
As you get away from the east coast, you start to see more significant improvement, but only from a couple teams.
Jonathan Lucroy is a big get for the Rangers, and Jeremy Jeffress is a nice addition to their bullpen. The Carlos Beltran move is sort of iffy. He is still a great hitter, but his defense is pretty terrible. They also got Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez for their pitching staff. They may be the most improved team heading out of the deadline. Don’t mess with Texas.
Cleveland were nearly Lucroy’s landing spot until he invoked his limited no trade clause. Still, they ended up with Andrew Miller and Brandon Guyer. Those two make it a decent deadline for them, Lucroy would have made it outstanding.
And that’s it. Houston and Detroit didn’t do much of anything. The Mariners nearly traded for shortstop Zack Cosart, but ran out of time. If you are picking winners and losers, the Orioles would seem to fall somewhere in between, perhaps even slight winners.
The deals that weren’t done
The Orioles did not go get a top of the rotation pitcher. Nor did they sure up their bullpen with a left-handed reliever. And they seemed to have nearly improved their outfield with the addition of Upton, but couldn’t get him either. Instead, they ended up with two mediocre-to-decent major league caliber players, and that is OK because they didn’t give up a whole lot to do so.
What is more important are the deals that didn’t happen anywhere in the American League. The Red Sox did not trade for Chris Sale. San Francisco added some pieces. No one was able to pry Jeremy Hellickson from the Phillies. Colorado kept their offense in tact and held onto Boone Logan. Rich Hill is headed to the Dodgers. Aroldis Chapman is a Cub.
The NL is going to be a dog fight, but the Orioles only have 10 games left against the senior circuit. It is the relatively quiet AL where they will carve their way into the playoffs.
It’s not about the deadline
The race for the American League was almost certainly not decided on Monday, but rather back in the winter when the competing teams assembled much of their current rosters.
With the way things are set up right now, the Orioles are good enough to win the AL East and even make a playoff run. The front office did it’s job at the deadline by improving the current team without sacrificing the future.
At the end of the day, Baltimore has a new starting pitcher and a hitter that they know well and will likely become a part of their every day lineup. These are moves that should revitalize a locker room that wanted to see improvement and, hopefully, push them towards the first fall classic for the O’s in 33 years.