The Orioles, after Wednesday afternoon's loss to the Rays, are now five games below .500 and five games out of a wild card spot. It is increasingly more difficult to imagine their path to the postseason. Despite this, the Orioles remain ready to "go either way" prior to the trade deadline, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.
This is not exactly a new development on its own. This back-and-forth indecisiveness has been a theme in the reporting on the Orioles thinking through July. Neither is another detail about the Orioles included by Crasnick: That the chances of trading closer Zach Britton are growing "slimmer by the day," with a market for Britton not having developed the way that the Orioles might have hoped.
The discrepancy between what the Orioles wanted to get for Britton and what teams are actually offering was first explored by Crasnick's ESPN colleague, Buster Olney, in a Sunday article, with Olney suggesting that rival GMs were unsure that the O's would trade Britton for any "less than optimal" package of prospects.
It seems the few days since then have not changed any minds as far as who is being offered for Britton. Crasnick elaborates on the concern other teams are having about Britton, namely that they are unsure he is "ready for the late season grind."
In support of this, Crasnick adds that Britton has yet to pitch on consecutive days since returning from the disabled list, and has only had one save opportunity in that time as well. This has led to the Britton suitors turning their eyes towards other relievers, including fellow Oriole Brad Brach, but also Pat Neshek of the Phillies and others.
It's not the kind of thing that people who wanted to see the Orioles collect two top 100 prospects for Britton would want to hear, but that seems to be how it is. Perhaps if Britton pitched on back-to-back days in the weekend's Rangers series and looked flawless, a desperate team's mind might be changed. We probably shouldn't count on it.
With Britton apparently not going anywhere, the Orioles could end up being sellers without having much to sell. Brach is a nice guy to offer in a trade, though he surely won't be fetching the sorts of things that Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller did at the trade deadline last year.
Seth Smith and Welington Castillo are the only soon-to-be free agents somebody might actually want, and they're not fetching big prospect packages, either. Hopefully, the Orioles can find useful players for the future as they contemplate making these moves.