Welcome to Overreaction Of The Week, my over the top, uninhibited, Baltimore sports-fan takes on this week’s Orioles activity.
The Manny Machado trade talks have reached a fever pitch this week, and a move is coming closer to fruition. He’s the Orioles’ most valuable trade chip and is sure to bring a decent haul, but there are some other players that may draw contenders’ interest. Who are those guys and what are their potential landing spots?
Zach Britton – Is Zach Britton back? I thought he looked pretty good in Game 1 against the Yankees on 7/9. It may have looked like his location left something to be desired, but I attribute that to the return of the movement on his sinker. His velocity was up, the sharp bite was back, and he got three ground balls, true to his form. He hasn’t been the Zach Britton of old so far, but he’s getting better and better. He doesn’t get the strike outs that Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller do, but a power lefty that doesn’t give up home runs is a luxury any contender would desire. Many have reported interest from the Dodgers and Astros, I think both teams would be willing to pay a premium for Britton if he can prove he’s truly back.
Adam Jones – This is a tough one. I know it’s probably a good move for the organization to trade him, but it would be a tough pill for me to swallow. Teams wouldn’t be acquiring him for his defense, but Jones is quietly slashing a respectable .280/.305/.429 and his strikeout rate is the lowest it’s ever been. His playoff numbers aren’t great, but he’s a guy who has big game experience which could benefit a younger team. One possible destination for Jones could be St. Louis, who is hovering around the second Wild Card spot in the NL, and has gotten next to nothing out of Dexter Fowler this year.
Mark Trumbo – A strikeout-prone righty may not be at the top of everyone’s wishlist, but when you add the context of his power and the generally weak first base group in the Majors, Trumbo may start to garner some interest. Over his career, Trumbo has been an adequate first baseman and provides a ton of pop to any lineup. The fact that his contract carries team control beyond this year relatively affordably is something for teams to consider as well. The market for players like Trumbo may have collapsed last offseason, but home runs are valued higher than ever. If there’s one thing that Trumbo does well, it’s hit home runs, and that may be enough for a team with a struggling first baseman to take a chance on.
Brad Brach – Unfortunately for the Orioles, Brach hasn’t been very good lately. The percentage of hard hit balls he allows is the highest it’s been in his whole career. That has led to a career high Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) of .373. In 2016 and 2017, his best years as a pro, his BABIP allowed was .267 and .256, respectively. With such a dramatic difference in success, what’s the problem? His signature ‘turbo’ change up has not been signature nor turbo. His Win Probability when throwing the change up has cratered, and when you lose your best pitch, well, it’s tough to get guys out. The Orioles best hope for Brach is that he can use the All Star break to recharge his batteries, run him out a few times before July 31st, and see if he can draw some more attention then. Luckily for the Orioles, the August trade deadline is another possibility for a team desperate for bullpen help.
Chris Davis – Just kidding.
While the players mentioned here won’t bring the haul Manny will, any additional talent is a plus for the Orioles’ organization. Another name that several have mentioned in rumors is Kevin Gausman. I think he would also command a rich offer because of his high ceiling and years of team control. I feel as though this is less likely to happen, the Orioles have rebuffed interest in Gausman for years now.
A package deal of Manny and a reliever could boost the return, but these players on their own could return organizational depth or legitimate Major League players. It would be especially tough to see Jones and Britton leave, but their departures would open up more opportunities for other guys like Cedric Mullins and Tanner Scott. The names I mentioned may no longer command the ‘Blockbuster Trade’ label, but dealing them could have understated positive effects on the organization in the long run.