CINCINNATI – Orioles right-hander Jordan Lyles has personal experience with the MLB trade deadline. In 2019, in a late July deal, he was traded from Pittsburgh to Milwaukee and then helped the Brewers make a run to the NL wild card game.
That deal he said, kind of came out of the blue and he had not been among players rumored to be possibly moving at that time.
This year’s deadline is different for the Orioles.
Different in that, rather than be in full sell mode as a rebuilding team, they are a team currently in contention. There are some rumors out there but just not many involving the Orioles. Who knows what that means for next Tuesday, the day of the trade deadline.
For now Lyles believes the Orioles are doing fine with in dealing with any deadline stress, rumors and/or distractions.
“I think we have handled it really well,” he said before yesterday’s game in the Baltimore clubhouse. “It has not been much of a topic of discussion in here. We’ve had so much fun the last few weeks in how well we’ve been playing and that’s all we are focused about right now. But we’ve handled the questions, and all the things that come around this time of year. I think we’ve handled it well and it hasn’t swayed us in any way.”
The team has kind of taken a day-to-day focus and one-game-at-a-time focus throughout the year in becoming an improved team that now has a chance to finish over .500.
“That’s a great way to put it,” Lyles said. “We are young and talented and have a lot of quality arms, especially in our bullpen. That’s a recipe for success when you have a lot of arms you can lean on and it makes it a lot easier day-to-day trying to pull out wins. We’ve enjoyed everything and the process.
“Like I said, we are young and talented and this time of year is tough on a lot of clubs. Especially guys with expiring contracts, but for the most part we are young, lot of team control.”
I asked Lyles about being traded in 2019 and if that changed his outlook on the trade deadline since then?
“Yeah, I have been through this situation a couple of times, but it doesn’t make me go about my day-to-day any differently. I try to go about each day doing everything I can to help myself gameplan, physically and mentally for every fifth day. Until and if that time comes, it’s out of my control so I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”
Lyles, who is 7-8 with a 4.56 ERA, has said a couple of times he prefers to stay an Oriole and wants to see this season through to the end with Baltimore.
“Definitely. Being a part of this group this year has been fun. It’s been special. To see the growth in some of the guys, especially guys that got their feet wet last year and now are taking their game to the next level. I’m proud of them. I enjoy walking into this clubhouse every day. A lot of good dudes in this clubhouse.”
That includes Trey Mancini of course, the subject of more than a few rumors and a player that many fans in Birdland are hoping stays an Oriole beyond Tuesday. Lyles said Mancini does not seem impacted by such talk.
“Same Trey. Great teammate, great ballplayer. I can’t speak for him, but from the outside looking in he hasn’t wavered. Obviously that would be an emotional time if that does happen. But until then, we’re going to try to win this series and then the next one,” he said.
Speaking of Trey: The Orioles have a few hitters scuffling now and Mancini himself was recently in an 0-for-26 slump. After last night's 8-2 loss to Cincinnati, where the O's had just one hit after the second inning, Mancini expressed confidence in the offense.
“No, I don't think so,” he said when asked if he is concerned about the offense in the next several games. “Tough night tonight. I think we've really depended on situational hitting lately. Really had a flair for the dramatic the last few weeks, coming up in big spots.
“At the same time, it would be nice to have some games where we have a more comfortable lead or put up some runs early and consistently put them up. Our bullpen has been our anchor and they have been winning a lot of games for us. As an offense moving forward, it would be nice to put up more runs and give them more of a rest than they've had.”