Things we need to find out

What's the best way to approach a new month?

If you're the Orioles, you don't play.

Take a day off. Regroup. Try to find five capable starters for your rotation. Try to read the name "Davis" on the back of the first baseman's jersey without thinking of Glenn.

Now that the non-waiver deadline smoke has cleared, we can look forward to the August trade speculation. Deals are still consummated after July 31.

Jeff Conine was dealt to the Marlins on Aug. 31, 2003 for Don Levinski and Denny Bautista, and to the Phillies on Aug. 27, 2006 for Angel Chavez.

Aubrey Huff was dealt to the Tigers on Aug. 17, 2009 for Brett Jacobson.

Those are two Orioles and three examples that immediately pop into my head.

Vladimir Guerrero remains a candidate to be traded. He's been viewed as an Aug. 31 guy for quite a while, though Derrek Lee wore the same label and he's now in Pittsburgh.

The market for Guerrero is more limited and he hasn't done much to attract interest from a contender.

One of the more popular questions on this blog following the Koji Uehara trade has been whether the acquisition of first baseman Chris Davis now takes the Orioles out of the mix for Prince Fielder.

Were they really in it?

Davis isn't being handed the job in 2012. He's going to be in the lineup for most of the remaining games, health permitting, and the Orioles will evaluate him. They'd like to cross first base off their winter shopping list, but it's up to him.

Keep in mind that Davis also can play third base and left field, though first base is his best position. The Orioles will be in the market for a designated hitter once Guerrero is gone, so that's another possible role.

Fielder might still be in the mix, but the Orioles would have to be willing to spend big and he'd have to be willing to come here. Marinate in that thought for a while.

If you need reasons to stay interested in this season, Davis is a good one. Plenty of fans have been screaming for the Orioles to trade for him. Well, you've got him. Let's find out whether he's worth the fuss.

Let's also find out whether Zach Britton can get through the first inning or whether we should really start to worry about the kid.

That assignment to Double-A Bowie didn't do him any good. He couldn't even fake enthusiasm the day that he was optioned.

Let's also find out whether Brian Matusz can get back to the majors, and back to looking like a future ace. His regression would be a crushing blow to the rebuilding effort.

While we're at it, let's also find out whether "the cavalry" is more of a cavity.

Will we find out whether Jim Johnson is starter material? The odds were reduced with the Uehara trade and the failure to move Jeremy Guthrie, but I'd take a shot if the young starters continue to underachieve and fumble their opportunities.

Here's an idea for each young starter: Keep your pitch counts down.

That's all I've got. Just try it and see how it works out for you.

Let's also find out whether Tommy Hunter is worthy of inclusion in the 2012 rotation or whether he's more of a bullpen guy. He's a power arm and he was 13-4 last year. Run him out there every five days. Make a determination.

(Making him run isn't a bad idea, either.)

Let's also find out whether we'll ever see Brian Roberts in the lineup again. He hasn't played since May 16. He's still experiencing migraine headaches. We know it's not his wisdom teeth, so what the heck is it?

Roberts is doing some baseball-related activities, but he's not ready for an injury-rehab assignment. The minor league season ends in about five weeks. If you're wondering whether his Orioles career is ending, you're not alone.

It might not matter in the standings if Roberts returns this season, but there's still a lot of importance attached.

Since I mentioned Guthrie earlier, I'll offer the opinion that president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail was smart to hold onto the right-hander if he couldn't get suitable pitching in return. There was no reason to dump Guthrie, who's certain to attract more interest during the winter from a larger pool of teams.

Shameless plug alert: I'm not appearing on MASN today, at least as far as I know, but I wanted to mention that it's been three years today since I joined the network and MASNsports.com. Your interest and participation in this blog is greatly appreciated. I wouldn't be here without you.

Here's hoping that on Aug. 1, 2012, we'll be debating whether the Orioles gave up too much as buyers at the non-waiver trade deadline, and whether their streak of consecutive sellouts at Camden Yards will continue through September.

Stranger things have happened. And I've got the video, safely stored away, to prove it.

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