Of course Dan Duquette stood pat at the non-waiver trade deadline. Of course. What, after all, did you expect him to do?
I'm on record saying the Orioles should be buyers. I still think that's true, and grooves like the current one against the Yankees are a big reason why. This group just doesn't fold, and I find the prospect of what they might do with a little more talent tantalizing.
That said, I'm not the least bit surprised that Duquette didn't pull a trigger. If he's shown us anything in his time here it's that he marches to his own drum. The jury's still out on whether or not that's a good thing but I dig it because it's weird. Unpredictable. And, possibly, smart.
Duquette knows that these Orioles, impressive as they are, likely can't make a postseason run as currently constituted. He probably looked at the trade landscape and figured there wasn't a move available that would move the needle without sacrificing the future. Can't argue with that.
Question now is, what's next?
For starters: play out the string and see what happens.
There's always the possibility of a cleared-waivers trade, and Jason Hammel's return in a month or so will be a boost. Mostly, though, we've got what we've got. Which tells me that Duquette is playing a long game. He probably was - and remains - willing to make a move, but this year's not the thing. Next year might be, and 2014 certainly is. As long as there's steady improvement along the way then the current play is the smartest play.
Don't, however, discount the weirdness factor. This team traded for Jim Thome and currently employs Lew Ford. They found Wei-Yin Chen. They considered both Miguel Tejada and Jamie Moyer. I don't put anything past them and wouldn't want to. If anything, I expect to be surprised at some point. Probably at multiple points.
We've got about two months of baseball left to play in 2012. That's still enough time for pretty much any result. The only thing we can safely say for sure is that it won't be boring. Which, in itself, is an upgrade.
Neal Shaffer regularly blogs about the Orioles at The Loss Column, and his work appears here as part of MASNsports.com's initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.