I jokingly asked a team official yesterday whether it was safe for me to go out after the game, or if I should be prepared to write a trade story. He texted back, "Enjoy your night."
I made the bold assumption that Jake Peavy wasn't being traded to the Orioles. Or Bud Norris. Or Michael Young. Or Raul Ibanez. Or Carlos Quentin. Or Justin Morneau. Or Justin Bieber. Or...
Executive vice president Dan Duquette is talking to a bunch of teams. Orioles scouts are spread all over the place. And it could amount to absolutely nothing. After all, it's the non-waiver trade deadline, which often ends up being a non-issue.
The Orioles already made two trades this month, acquiring pitchers Scott Feldman and Francisco Rodriguez. That would normally be considered a bounty for the Orioles, who have let the deadline pass in previous years without so much as a whimper. But the bar's been raised following last year's playoff run and their flirtation with first place this summer.
Manager Buck Showalter is focusing on his own players. Same as last year at this time. He isn't excited by the prospect of acquiring rotation help or another bat for his lineup. He's extremely sensitive to the feelings of his players, never wanting to give the impression that they're not good enough to complete the mission.
"I always look at it from the players' standpoint," he said, dismissing the silly notion that the trade speculation brings some sort of excitement to him. "I don't know if it's exciting for them because they're thinking, 'Who's it for?' Somebody doesn't just hand us a player. You subtract somebody. So I try to think of it like what the players are thinking.
"This is a group that doesn't say, 'Hey, are we going to get somebody? Are we going to do this? Why don't we do this?' We talked a lot about the reflection our words have on our teammates. And we like what we have. We wake up Aug. 1, I don't think anybody's going to feel bad about that. We've already done things. We got Brian Roberts back. We made some additions. We got Nate (McLouth) back in the off-season."
At this point, Showalter inadvertently provided what could be construed as a wonderful slogan for the 2013 Orioles, fit for any T-shirt designer.
"The Yankees have already got (Alfonso) Soriano and we got (LJ) Hoes. That's who we are. And we're OK with it," he said.
I think it reads better without the first names.
"And at the same time, there's great morale through that," Showalter continued. "We think we've already got that. We brought some of these guys back. We signed Adam (Jones) to a contract (extension). We got Nate back, we got J.J. (Hardy) a contract two years ago. We got Manny (Machado) out of the draft. That certainly wasn't free. Nick (Markakis) is signed through next year and beyond, maybe. That's not free.
"People lose sight. It's the timing of it. If we had done all those things on July 30, it would have been a heck of a story. We've already done it.
"I've been on some clubs that go, 'Hey, are we going to do anything?' They don't get involved in that. I know there are a bunch of guys in Norfolk who hope we don't do anything. But it reflects on everybody, so you've got to be careful how you say that.
"Jason Pridie's having a hell of a year this year. I look at that as much as I do people who might be available. And at what price? A lot of times you're robbing from Peter to pay Paul. Also, not only this year, but beyond. You've got to think how it reflects on who you're trying to be over the long haul. Try not to do anything that affects our ability to have a long-term competitive team."