With spring training quickly approaching, the Orioles are still lacking three starting pitchers, a left-handed hitting outfielder and a utility infielder or third baseman who preferably bats left-handed.
Is there hope for landing these must-haves before pitchers and catchers report to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla., on Tuesday? For inspiration, the Orioles need not look any further than the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In one fell swoop before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, the Cavaliers acquired four players who can help them this year and in the future while giving up six players who had not lived up to expectations this season. It was a stunning turn of events for a team that went from being a playoff bubble team to the favorite in the Eastern Conference in one afternoon.
The Orioles, on the other hand, have spent the entire offseason looking for pitching. They’ve come up with minor-league guys other teams didn’t want. But can vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette turn it around over the last weekend before workouts start?
Sadly, the answer is probably no. While Orioles fans can dream of Duquette adding any combination of pitchers Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, Jason Vargas, Chris Tillman or Jaime Garcia, a left-handed hitting outfielder like John Jay, Carlos Gonzalez or Melky Cabrera (switch-hitter) and a third baseman like Mike Moustakas, before Tuesday, it’s time to wake up.
The Orioles continue to wait out the market, but they are also waiting out any chance of a quick start to the season.
So while a team like the Cavaliers, which won the NBA title in 2016, adds key players over a few hours to help their pending superstar free agent, LeBron James, make another run at a championship, the Orioles continue to sit on their hands.
They have a pending superstar free agent of their own, Manny Machado, but they haven’t done a thing to improve from last season’s 75-87 team. In fact, the Orioles are arguably worse.
The Cavaliers proved that you can re-make a team, for better or worse, in a matter of hours. That’s much too fast for the Orioles.