There are about 48 hours to go until the non-waiver trade deadline for the Orioles to figure out what they are going to do with their players and their efforts to go forward with a real rebuilding journey. As of Sunday afternoon, it appears that Adam Jones is not going anywhere by his own choice. Meanwhile, at least two teams are “pushing” to try to get Brad Brach.
As a player who is a 10-year MLB veteran who has been with his current team for at least five years, Jones enjoys blanket no-trade rights that he would have to waive for any deal. The Athletic’s Dan Connolly reported on a belief that Jones is not expected to agree to a trade anywhere. Dan Duquette said as much in a radio interview before Sunday’s game, as relayed by MASN’s Steve Melewski.
There could always be a late surprise. Perhaps one of the teams that had reported interest in Jones - Connolly listed the Phillies and Indians - would be able to persuade him to accept a trade at the eleventh hour. But for the moment, it seems that Jones has a preference not to uproot his family and to see out charitable commitments he has undertaken in Baltimore.
It’s Jones’s right to veto any trade and no one should grudge him for that. Still, it’s hard to escape the fact that an inability to trade Jones limits the Orioles options for giving an audition to a young player like Cedric Mullins for the rest of the season.
The Orioles can still clear a corner outfield spot for Mullins if they want, and hopefully they do want to do that, but it’s less exciting than imagining a young, fast player patrolling center field for the balance of this disappointing season.
As for Brach, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reported that both the Cubs and Braves had been “pushing” for him, with additional possible interest from the Pirates, Indians, and Rockies. The Rockies already traded with the Blue Jays for reliever Seunghwan Oh, and the Indians made their bullpen trade for Brad Hand and Adam Cimber, but perhaps the others still want to take Brach off the O’s hands.
Brach is, of course, not going to fetch the kind of return that Zach Britton did. He frankly hasn’t pitched very well this season and teams who have been watching him are surely as well aware of that as Orioles fans are. Still, if they can unload him and get a token return while opening up a space to audition different relievers in late inning roles, that would be a plus for the trade deadline.
What about players who aren’t going to be free agents at the end of the season? Duquette talked about that on the radio as well:
Duquette on 105.7 interview on dealing players under control beyond '18 - "We told clubs we were going to move the free agent contracts, the pending free agents. We have listened to some offers for the other players but we have not been out there actively seeking trade partners."— Steve Melewski (@masnSteve) July 29, 2018
This is not the answer that anyone who wants the Orioles to trade everything that’s not nailed down wants to hear. If he’s not trying too hard to find trade partners for players like Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman, then he may not be as committed to launching a rebuilding effort as some of his other recent statements indicate.
It’s a complicated thing to figure out, though. Schoop has had a down season thus far and the O’s may feel that trading him would be selling low. Gausman’s pitching in this season probably doesn’t have him at peak value, either. Those are the charitable reads on the reluctance to act on those players. There are others that could be more concerning.
The deadline is Tuesday afternoon and it only takes one phone call to start changing things. For now, it appears that Jones won’t be going anywhere, while the O’s will be doing their best to find a new team for Brach.