Orioles make no moves (updated)
NEW YORK– In the end, the Orioles stood their ground.
With several deals being discussing in the hours leading up to Tuesday’s Trade Deadline, including veteran Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton– executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette stood pat and did not make a move.
Duquette said on a conference call with reporters that he still thought on Tuesday that he would be able to get something done by the non-waiver deadline, with Blanton talks rumored to be very close at various times of the day.
“At this time of team of year, it’s cost of talent, and, cost of adding salaries to your roster,” he said. “Those are the two costs. We had resources set aside on both ends, players that we could trade and money that we could add. It didn’t work.
Sometimes when you have the solutions in house, which I think we do — I think we have significant solutions to some of our issues here already in the organization — my experience is that you need to recognize that. Some teams like some of our young pitching Our job now is to get that young pitching to the point where they can pitch productively for us in Baltimore.”
Duquette made it no secret that the organization was targeting adding to the rotation, but Blanton –who was owed almost $3 million for the season’s last two months — wasn’t enough of an upgrade, and the two sides couldn’t reach common ground on money or prospects.
While Duquette was aggressive in his attempt to acquire a starting pitcher, he acknowledged several times in the days leading up to the Trade Deadline that it was a difficult market, with a lot of teams buying and few selling. The team’s trade chips — beyond top prospects Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado, who were off the table — simply weren’t enough compared to other organization’s farm systems, and the Orioles were unwilling to part with Arrieta or any other young pitcher.
“The opportunities we looked at had a cost, and I wasn’t convinced that they weren’t a lot better than the people we had in the organization,” Duquette said. “Hence, we weren’t able to make some of the deals we had on the table.”
Instead, Baltimore — which has dealt with an inconsistent starting rotation –will hope that right-hander Jason Hammel (knee surgery) will be able to return in early September and its young starters can step up. Hammel is close to returning to baseball activities and the club remains optimistic he can rejoin the Orioles and provide a boost the final month of the season.
The O’s entered Tuesday two games back for an American League Wild Card spot and 6 1/2 behind the AL East-leading Yankees. Ideally, they’d like to improve their starting pitching, but they will now look to young arms Chris Tillman and Zach Britton to step up. There is also the hope that struggling starters Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz — who were both demoted to Triple-A — can get back on track.
“Hope to get some of these guys off the 60 and the 15 [day disabled list],” manager Buck Showalter said. “We have good options in Norfolk where they are starting to present themselves. That’s where I’m dwelling. I know what you’re asking, but some of the best things you don’t do are the things that aren’t productive for your short-term and long-term success.
Like I told you all along, I don’t think players need to hear me strumming my fingers trying to figure out who’s coming. I have a lot of confidence in the people who are evaluating that.”
While Tuesday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline has passed, there’s also still a chance Duquette, who has made it clear he wants to win this year, could make a move. If a player on the 40-man roster clears waivers, then any team can work out a deal for him.
“We’re still in contention,” Duquette said. “We’ll be getting some players back to help the team. And I still think we have pretty good depth.
“There will be other opportunities to add to the team. We’ve been adding to the team steadily as the season has come on. We would have liked to have done a deal or two today, but I don’t think we’re done adding to the team.”
In the meantime, the Orioles will go with the same club that got them this far, hoping they can find internal solutions to their problems. Asked if the players in the clubhouse should take the lack of trade activity as a compliment, Showalter said, “They should take it that way. What other way is there to look at it?
You spend some many times coveting somebody else’s players to decide that the solution may be in the own back yard…The biggest thing clubs can do is know their own, know thy self. So not a whole lot changes from that perspective.”