The disastrous Orioles series against the Cubs coming out of the All-Star break seems to have officially pushed the team into seller mode. Over the weekend, the team was reported to be leaning towards a partial sell-off centered mostly around relievers Zach Britton and Brad Brach, with the only question being whether owner Peter Angelos would sign off on that strategy.
According to Ken Rosenthal, that approval has been granted by the O’s owner to Dan Duquette as of Tuesday evening. The Orioles aren’t setting up for a complete teardown that would rule them out of contention next year as well as the rest of this year, but they are going to try to add some assets to the system that they wouldn’t get if they completely stood pat.
Rosenthal cites the specific players who are on the approved list as being Britton, Brach, Darren O’Day, and Seth Smith. From this, we can guess that any other potential free agent at year’s end is probably fair game as well, not that the Orioles have many desirable players who fall in this category.
Unless something changes, that means there’s no point spending the next week and a half wondering about the possible return for a Manny Machado trade. That’s not currently in the cards, even if in a cold, emotionless reading of the Orioles situation, it maybe should be.
Having ownership approval to trade those particular players doesn’t mean they’re all going to be moved, but it does give Duquette some latitude to have some time to explore the market and find a deal he likes. That’s certainly better than if they were trying to do it at the last minute.
A lot of teams are going to be looking for relief help, but potentially a lot of teams will be offering relief help as well. It should add up to an interesting late July, although it's not the kind of interesting that Orioles fans were hoping for when the season began.