The Baltimore Orioles have had, well, let’s just say an unimpressive season to date. Currently on pace to win 56 games, it’s easy to say there more than likely won’t be a playoff chase this season.
So what does that mean for the team come the July 30th trade deadline? Well, with at least half the league fighting for five playoff spots, the Orioles might be the place where teams search for a player to put them over the hump. More than likely, there are three to four players who might be wearing a new jersey come July 31. Let’s take a look and see what players would have the most interest to contenders.
I know, I know… just breathe. Do I think this happens? No. But there’s always the possibility.
All but assured to lock up the Comeback Player of the Year Award, Trey Mancini has etched a place in fans’ and teams’ hearts from around the league. Recently, teammate Cedric Mullins and division rival Vladimir Guerrero Jr. both placed Mancini on their stand up to cancer cards during the All-Star festivities. He is loved and respected afar. But what would trading Mancini mean for our club?
Mancini, coming off a runner-up finish in the Home Run Derby, currently is batting .256 and leads the Orioles in RBI with 55 and is tied for the team lead in home runs with 16. He’s a good contact hitter, with power capable of game-changing at-bats and patience at the plate. The Atlanta Braves have inquired about Mancini in the past, but they eventually passed. So what teams could be interested in a six-year vet in the prime of his career with another year of club control?
The Brewers appear as the most likely of teams to reach out. They have two left hand pitchers and a shortstop/second baseman in their top-10 prospects, who are expected to be Major League ready by next year. A haul of No. 2 prospect Brice Turang (SS/2B), No. 7 prospect Aaron Ashby (LHP), and No. 18 prospect Zack Brown (RHP) would be a return that would come close to matching what Mancini could provide for Milwaukee.
Of all the contenders, this could be the most likely landing spot. The likelihood of fetching two top-10 prospects and a top-20 prospect might be tempting, but I believe that Trey Mancini remains an Oriole at least through this year, with a possible extension before arbitration comes around. The likelihood of a trade this year is slim, where as if an agreement is not reached, Mancini could be traded by the 2022 deadline.
Another player that will be called about, and probably has his days numbered in Baltimore, Anthony Santander.
After spraining his ankle earlier in the year, it appears as though Santander has started to get fully healthy again. A strong right field presence, who is still just 26 years old, Anthony is a defensive upgrade for just about any team. His bat would bring a steady presence in a six or seven hole, and he is under team control until 2024. He provides a veteran presence and a history of clutch and timely hitting. Plus, the Orioles have Yusniel Díaz, who was the big piece in the Manny Machado trade, on the horizon.
Teams in the market for a corner outfielder might look to the Orioles, who have plenty of depth at the outfield positions. But what team would benefit the most, and what could the return look like?
The most likely landing spot would have Santander heading to the Oakland Athletics. Currently, their right fielder, Stephen Piscotty, is batting just .204, and at 30 years of age, taking on Santander would create a steady presence in the field and a stronger bat in Oakland’s lineup.
The A’s have a right-handed pitcher that would be perfect for the Orioles in a trade that would benefit both clubs. Grant Holmes, former Dodger prospect, is sitting in Triple-A Las Vegas, expecting to play in the big leagues this year or next. With a ground ball generating fastball and curveball that grades out at 60, this would bring a Major League ready arm to the Orioles for next year and a multi-tooled outfielder to the Athletics. This would be the best scenario for both players and clubs and would keep both teams with a young player under team control.
The likelihood of Santander being traded is pretty high due to Díaz waiting for his call up and the amount of plus-rated outfielders the Orioles recently landed in the draft. Santander ranks high on probability to be traded this year, as his days do appear to be numbered.
The next name that more than likely has his days numbered is left-hander, Paul Fry.
Over the last few years, Fry has given Oriole fans palpitations when he enters the game. But this year, the 28-year-old has had more good than bad outings and is a veteran pitcher that could help out any bullpen. A team like the Boston Red Sox might come calling, looking to add arms to a tired and inexperienced bullpen.
The problem with Boston is that they still are rebuilding their minor league system from previous years of trades. This puts the Chicago White Sox into play. A strong offensive team with a decent pitching staff, Fry is a nice lefty piece, who has been in high profile situations and can pitch multiple innings. Now, he won’t fetch a top-10 talent, but a top-20 talent is on the table, and the White Sox actually have a player that would fit the mold to complete this trade.
Caleb Freeman is a right-handed pitcher, who is a reliever type that profiles as a late inning, high profile pitcher if his trajectory continues. At 23 years old, he is currently pitching in Winston-Salem Single-A ball. He has a fastball that grades out at 60, with a curveball grading out at 55. His fastball can touch 98, and his curve hovers between 77-81 mph, making a good off-speed combo. He would be a solid arm to build for a debut in the bullpen in 2022 or 2023.
Other Orioles who could garner interest are Cedric Mullins and John Means, but the likelihood of those building blocks for our team being traded is as close to slim as you can get. Of course, no one is untouchable, and it would more than likely take a haul larger than the Machado trade to pry them away. As general managers have said, the Orioles are asking extremely high for all those players.
The above three scenarios are only takes, but they are all likely destinations that could bring players beneficial to a rebuild, while helping other teams out at the same time. The clock is ticking, and we can only wait and see what happens at the deadline!
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