The Orioles’ 5-3 victory over the Rays today extended Baltimore’s lead over Tampa Bay to two games, and continued a dream month for the upstart O’s. Between Baltimore’s 13-6 record and the Rays’ 4-14 record in July, the Orioles have completely wiped out their 6.5-game deficit from the start of the month, and now look like genuine World Series contenders. Even with this big surge, it remains to be seen how the O’s might approach the trade deadline, as ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that according to executives on other teams, the Orioles have thus far looked like “measured buyers” who are “willing to deal from position player surplus to upgrade pitching, but not perceived to be fishing for big, pricey deals, at this point.”
Should such a stance continue through August 1, Baltimore fans might not be pleased, as the fanbase was already annoyed enough last summer when the O’s dealt Trey Mancini and Jorge Lopez at the deadline rather than make a push for a playoff spot. (Of course, landing Yennier Cano from the Twins has made the Lopez trade a lot more popular in hindsight.) Obviously selling isn’t on the radar for GM Mike Elias this year, but that also doesn’t necessarily mean a blockbuster move is in store. Since the Orioles’ core of young talent is so promising, Elias might not see 2023 as the time for an all-in type of trade, especially considering that the O’s might not yet have decided which of their many star prospects they see as building blocks, and which might be trade chips. Of course, history has shown that lower-level deadline trades can often lead to postseason success just as easily as a headline-grabbing transaction, so Elias can pursue plenty of avenues as he looks to put the final pieces to an exciting young team.
More from around the AL East…
- During an appearance on The Front Office on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom reiterated that the club was looking for starting pitching at the deadline, as well as a left-handed hitting middle infielder. Enrique Hernandez, Yu Chang, Christian Arroyo, and even part-time second baseman Justin Turner all swing from the right side, as do the injured Trevor Story and Pablo Reyes. Story’s return from the injured list should give the Red Sox more clarity on their muddled infield picture, yet there’s also a chance Boston could both buy and sell at the deadline, as the club did last year. To this end, pending free agent Hernandez could be expendable, and The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya writes that the Dodgers would have interest in a possible reunion if Hernandez was open to more of a part-time role. Whereas Boston has too many right-handed bats, the Dodgers have a surplus of left-handed hitters in the outfield, so Hernandez could add both lineup balance and positional versatility as a player capable of working in multiple positions — essentially his old role when he previously played in L.A. in 2015-20.
- X-rays were negative on Danny Jansen’s left forearm after the Blue Jays catcher was hit by a Bryan Woo pitch in today’s game. Jansen was hit in the fifth inning and remained in the game until the seventh, and the Jays announced Jansen’s injury as a forearm contusion. It seems like Jansen will be day-to-day for now, though the Blue Jays could be shorthanded behind the plate until he is ready, since the Jays’ next offday isn’t until Thursday. Alejandro Kirk figures to be the starting catcher in the interim, with Tyler Heineman a call-up possibility from Triple-A, or Daulton Varsho perhaps an emergency catcher if Jansen only misses a game or two.
- In a pair of Yankees injury updates, Gleyber Torres also left today’s game due to left hip tightness. The issue isn’t serious enough at this time to require any tests, and manager Aaron Boone told The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner and other reporters that Torres was already feeling better postgame. Since New York doesn’t play on Monday, Torres might well not miss any game action after a day of rest.
- Nestor Cortes will begin a rehab assignment at Double-A today, the Yankees announced. Cortes hasn’t pitched since May 30 due to a strained rotator cuff, and the long layoff suggests that he’ll need multiple rehab outings before returning from the 60-day IL. Cortes struggled to a 5.16 ERA over his first 11 starts of the season, but if he returns in his 2021-22 form, he’ll provide a major boost to New York’s rotation in August.