After losing the first two games coming out of the All-Star break, the Orioles entered Sunday’s play six games below .500, five games out of a wild card spot with six teams to pass in order to get there. Does that sound like a recipe for a sell-off to you? To the Orioles right now, it does, as Ken Rosenthal reports that the team is preparing, if owner Peter Angelos approves, to trade some of their key players in order to build for the future.
One key exception to this, according to Rosenthal, is Manny Machado. Though the Orioles are apparently listening on a number of players, they’re not taking calls about Machado. Mychal Givens and Adam Jones are also said to be untouchable at this time. Givens could be an in-demand piece also, though Jones probably doesn’t have a ton of value based on his performance this year and last.
That puts a number of players who will be free agents after this season or next onto the trading block. Rosenthal adds, citing major league sources, that Orioles GM Dan Duquette has been telling teams that he is willing to deal top relievers Zach Britton, Brad Brach, and even Darren O’Day, as well as position players Seth Smith and Welington Castillo.
For now, the question about whether the Orioles would or should trade relievers to the desperate Nationals seems to have been made moot. The Nationals acquired two veteran relievers from Oakland, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, on Sunday afternoon.
It could be that even more teams would want Brach. Britton, already making $11.2 million this season and in line for another nice raise next year would represent a big-ticket item for a lot of teams. Brach, on the other hand, is making about $3 million this season and without a lot of saves on his ledger, won’t be getting a gigantic raise next season.
Not trading Machado allows the Orioles to preserve the thought of competing next season, as well as the illusion that they might be able to re-sign him to a long-term contract. It matters. The 2017 season is turning into a disappointing one, which doesn’t mean that next year has to be, too.
FanRag’s Jon Heyman noticed the Angelos problem earlier in the week as well. Hopefully it doesn’t turn into an actual problem. As I was writing this article, another Orioles starting pitcher got lit up early, making worse the last-place starting rotation in MLB. If Angelos has been watching these games, or even just reading about them, he will know what must be done.