To trade or not to trade, that is the question

So the Oakland A’s acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in a big trade, but the trade front has been pretty quiet otherwise so far this July.

Will the Orioles be involved between now and July 31?

Dan Duquette has made trades in July the last two years. Is a three-peat coming?

The Orioles could use a true No. 1 starter. Almost any team could say that. But the chances of them getting David Price, or even Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels, seem extremely remote to me.

Would the club be willing to give up a massive haul of their top pitching prospects and/or take on a big number in salary for this and future years?

I can hear some of you saying, “If they want to win, they will.”

Wel,l Lee, who just came off the disabled list last night, is owed at least $37.5 million in the future. Hamels is owed $96 million starting next season. Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon will make $13 million a year through 2015 with a vesting option for that amount for 2016.

The Phillies reportedly would be willing to eat some salary, but that would just make the price in prospects go up, would it not?

The Orioles have been linked to A.J. Burnett yet again. He is 6-9 with a 4.08 ERA in 21 starts for the Phillies. Burnett’s current ERA would be only fifth-best among O’s starters. His ERA is 4.82 since May 1. He is averaging 3.8 walks per nine innings. Among O’s starters, only Ubaldo Jimenez is worse.

When you look at that ERA since April, the high walk total and remember how poorly Burnett pitched his last time in the American League East, I don’t see the upgrade here.

By the way, the Orioles’ starting pitchers have worked to an ERA of 3.31 over their last 37 games. Barring the pickup of a clear top-of-rotation guy, do they really need to acquire another Scott Feldman type?

As I look at the current O’s roster, I see enough talent to win the AL East. Is there enough to go deep in the playoffs? That is where getting a No. 1 pitcher could come into play. A pitcher that can win you two, maybe even three games, in a short series. That is a difference-maker. Think of what CC Sabathia did against the Orioles in the playoffs in 2012.

The Orioles also have to consider their future payrolls if and when they would consider taking on a big salary. Will they make a run at re-signing Nelson Cruz? What about J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters and Chris Davis? What about arbitration cases for next year? What is going to happen with Nick Markakis? Will they try to sign him to a new contract?

There is an inclination of some O’s fans to say they need to go for it and make moves to put them over the hump for this season. That sounds like a good idea, especially if there were such a move that would do just that. But any deal has a risk and some of these big-dollar moves have ramifications beyond this year.

The Orioles already decided to go for it when they added Jimenez and Cruz at a price of $58 million. Already, some fans would take a mulligan and pass on the Jimenez signing if they had a chance to turn back the clock.

Remember this time last year, when some were talking about $100 and even $200 million deals for Chris Davis? There are reasons most teams are very hesitant to dive into the huge salary pool.

Having said this, surely there may be some deals where the Orioles can acquire talent that won’t cost as much in terms of dollars and/or prospects. But will any of those deals put the team over the top?

Probably not.

This July, I think the Orioles’ best move may be to stand pat.

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