The trade deadline is now just over four hours away. Will it be an active few hours for the Orioles?
As the deadline draws near I go back to an interview I had with Dan Duquette on July 6. I sat across from him in his office that day as he spoke about the possibility of the Orioles making moves.
"The future is always now, when you are trying to win. Your future is really the opportunity and the risk is in not going for it. What do you think the fans want to see? They want to see and hear about all these prospects or do they want to see a competitive major league team going for the pennant?" Duquette said.
Pretty interesting in how he put that: "The risk is in not going for it." That sounds like a man that very much wants to make a deal.
Yet Duquette also knew then that he wasn't going to trade Dylan Bundy or Manny Machado and in keeping that pair, it lessened the chances of the O's making a move for a player that would truly be a significant acquisition.
Several local and national reporters have made the point over and over again. The Orioles would like to make moves, but don't seem to have what it takes to outbid others for key players if they are holding onto the big two.
Duquette said, "The risk is in not going for it," but how far is he willing to go? Clearly going for it has limits. In a way, maybe Duquette stated that too strongly or maybe on July 6 he was pretty convinced that he would make several moves.
There has sure been a lot written and said about Joe Blanton. I know his stats against the American League East are poor, but I also know most of those came during his years with Oakland and he has not been in the AL since 2008.
Blanton could be an upgrade for the back of the rotation but no way should the Orioles give up too much for a two-month, back-of-the-rotation rental. There are also reports that the Orioles don't want to take on all of Blanton's remaining salary.
When it comes to Blanton, what matters most is not what he did last year, has done over the years against the AL East or will do in two years. What matters to the Orioles is what he could do over the next two months.
I guess they see a right-hander pitching well now. One that has an ERA of 2.74 over his past three starts (with 23 inning pitched in those outings) and 3.82 in July with five quality starts over his last six outings. He does give up a lot of homers but he also has a WHIP of 1.19 which, by the way, is better than both Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen.
If Blanton pitches over his next six starts like he did over his past six, he could help the Orioles. If they can somehow stay in the race the rest of the year, one or two key victories along the way could make the difference.
The clock is ticking on the Orioles.
Urrutia update: I have been asked often about Henry Urrutia, the 25-year-old switch-hitting Cuban-born outfielder the Orioles recently signed for a reported $778,500 bonus. He is not currently with a O's minor league team, but is working out at the Orioles academy in the Dominican Republic.
The club wants to bring him to Sarasota before assigning him to Double-A Bowie. There is no set timetable right now for that to happen.
Urrutia batted .397/.461/.597 with 12 homers, 32 walks and 23 strikeouts in 305 at-bats in his final season in Cuba.
An O's source today denied that Urrutia has had visa problems and that visa issues have been a holdup in bringing him to the United States. But when it will happen remains uncertain, although the source said he fully expected Urrutia to play for Bowie before the minor league season comes to an end.