As baseball’s July 31 trade deadline approaches, Orioles fans are waiting to see if their team will make one or more deals.
In July 2012, O’s executive vice president Dan Duquette acquired Jim Thome and Joe Saunders. Last July, he traded for pitchers Scott Feldman, Francisco Rodriguez and Bud Norris.
Duquette will not handicap how likely it is that the Orioles will make a deal this month, but he does see the market being potentially very active over the next few weeks.
“There are a few more sellers now than there were a couple of weeks ago and teams are looking at what they’ll need to advance to the playoffs,” Duquette said. “We have active discussions with a number of teams. We’ll see.
“Yeah, I think you’ll see some players traded. We’ll take a look at what’s available to help our team.”
Have any of the O’s trade discussions advanced to a real serious level yet?
“Not really,” Duquette said.
As someone on the buyer’s side, Duquette knows what the sellers will be looking for.
“You know how these deals work,” he said. “You get established major leaguers for young prospects, right? That is how these deals work. So we have some decent depth and some players on each of our clubs that teams like, so that’s encouraging.”
Duquette will once again have to weigh trading developing young talent to get something to help the Orioles try to win in 2014.
“Young talent is going to be the lifeblood of our organization, but at the same time we want to advance the organization in the postseason, so that is kind of what you’re looking at,” Duquette said.
Does that mean some of the O’s top prospects could be available in the right deal?
“We hope our top prospects are going to help us for a long time,” Duquette would only say on that topic.
Meanwhile, I had the chance to ask Duquette about pitcher Kevin Gausman. He got the win last night in the rain-shortened victory over New York and is 4-2 with a 3.29 ERA. He has had four separate stints with the Orioles this year. Was his going back and forth between the minors and majors mostly due to his season innings limit?
“That is an important consideration,” Duquette said. “His development, we’d like him to be a front-line starter for many years and he’s doing his part. He is establishing himself as a major league pitcher. He’s got more consistent command, better secondary pitches. More consistent in every way this year.”
I asked Duquette if service time considerations were a part of how Gausman has been handled this year.
“You know, I think it’s important for the players to develop,” Duquette said. “Some players will have significant development time in the minors and some will have significant development time in the majors. Kevin has been shuttling back and forth and doing a good job in both places.”
Has going back and forth been a detriment to that development process?
“Well, he’s improving,” Duquette said. “He wants to be a good big league pitcher and he’s on his way. He’s doing a good job. He worked hard in the offseason and he’s serious about being a good pitcher.
“He’s competed and beat some of the best pitchers in the American League. He beat Oakland and he squared off against Sonny Gray. That was like Friday night starters in the SEC. LSU against Vanderbilt. Think Kevin had a lot of fun that day?”