First off, it's really good to be back in the states! I always have a great time when I return to visit my relatives and my grandparents' house in Italy, but there's no place like home. Other countries have many things that they can offer to us, as well as us to them - not the least among them is the great sport of baseball!
Now that the All-Star break is behind us, the next big hurdle in the season is the non-waiver trade deadline next Wednesday. I'm sure that many writers will feverishly be discussing this topic all week, and for the record, I'll probably be no exception. There are millions of opinions out there in terms of what the Orioles should or shouldn't do. The fact is that they've already made one move in trading for Scott Feldman a few weeks ago. But is there more that can be done?
There's always more that can be done in terms of player aquisition or self-improvement. What the Orioles really need is a front-line starting pitcher, although I would submit that perhaps another Joe Saunders or Feldman type of trade might get them through. Their current starters are beginning to come on much stronger, and getting Wei-Yin Chen back right before the break was almost akin to obtaining someone via trade. However, in saying that, we're also looking at things one way through the looking glass, if you will.
The Orioles aren't the only team in the division that might be looking to improve themselves at the deadline. In fact, teams such as the Red Sox and Rays might be looking at some of the same players as the Orioles. I suppose that my point is that if the O's stepped up and traded for someone like Jake Peavy or Matt Garza, they'd also potentially be blocking one of their division rivals from getting that player. Having the Red Sox net a pitcher like that in exchange for a couple of minor leaguers would be a tough pill to swallow for the O's. But if you can reverse that scenario and have the Orioles obtaining someone via trade, the outlook becomes a bit different.
Ultimately, the Orioles need to do what's best for them, and unfortunately teams' asking prices are going to be pretty high for the aforementioned pitchers. This is pure speculation and opinion, but one guy I suspect might be a bit expendable in the Orioles' system is LJ Hoes. He's a decent prospect who can play the outfield as well as a couple of infield positions. At the moment, the Orioles are looking fairly stout in the outfield (with the exception of Nolan Reimold's perpetual injury issues), which makes Hoes expendable. The Birds are also trying to work out a trade for outfielder Chris Dickerson, who was designated for assignment Friday. Whether a combination involving those guys would yield the Orioles a player like Garza or Peavy really remains to be seen.
For the record, Garza has a 3.17 ERA, but Peavy checks in at 4.19. So if we were choosing one, it would be Garza, right? If you're going based only on those numbers, yes. However, I suspect that Peavy would come at a slightly lower price, although he would come with one more year of team control. It's also worth mentioning that if Peavy (or Garza for that matter) was to come to the Orioles, he'd be playing with the Orioles' defense behind him. His ERA over the course of his career is 3.49, so he's better than that 4.12 that he's put up in 2013. These are all things that have to be taken into account when approaching a potential trade.
So what will the Orioles end up doing? I'll be honest - I don't think they're going to make a deal for either one of those guys prior to next week's deadline. That's not so much a reflection on the O's as it is on what other teams will ask in return. One thing that Dan Duquette has always done with the Birds is to not allow other general managers to overvalue their own players when trying to work out trades.
I wouldn't be surprised to see the Birds make a trade through waivers in August. While those trades tend to come cheaper, Duquette also seems like the type of guy that would rather make the final move as opposed to the first one. And when you're fighting for a division crown, the final move often dictates who wins.
Domenic Vadala blogs about the Orioles at Birds Watcher, and his opinions appear here as part of MASNsports.com's season-long 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.