As Friday’s 4 p.m. nonwaiver trade deadline looms, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette is still attempting to improve the club’s 25-man roster by adding an outfielder with on-base skills and potentially another pitcher.
According to sources in and outside the organization, every indication is that Duquette will make at least one deal by Friday afternoon — though it is not expected to be a blockbuster.
According to several sources, the Orioles continue to have talks with various clubs, specifically about acquiring an outfielder to improve the club’s woeful offensive production from left field. Included among the Orioles’ top targets are Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Ben Revere, sources say.
Earlier this week, the Orioles felt that the asking price on all of the potentially available outfielders was too high, but the hope is that as the 11th hour approaches and fewer teams are looking to buy, the prices will drop.
During his pregame press conference Thursday, Orioles manager Buck Showalter wouldn’t mention names, but said that the price for potential outfield help has been steep.
“Dan’s brought some things around that’s going on. But I’m sure there’s a lot going around. It’s pretty hot and heavy,” Showalter said. “There’s been some guys that have gone that we had talked about. … But if I told you who they were asking for for them, you’d say, ‘Of course, you won’t do that.’”
Teams have asked about the availability of right-hander Kevin Gausman, but one source said that Gausman would not be traded no matter the potential deal. Minor league pitchers Mike Wright and Mychal Givens also have been pursued, but it doesn’t appear the Orioles want to part with either.
The Orioles’ lack of organizational depth and the competition for proven talent has seemingly taken the team out of the mix for players such as Justin Upton, Carlos Gonzalez and Yoenis Cespedes — unless the asking price drops dramatically Friday, one source said.
Teams can still make deals after Friday, but the players involved have to clear trade waivers before they can switch clubs.
Here’s a brief look at some potentially available outfielders and the possibility of them becoming Orioles.
Gerardo Parra: The 28-year-old is a free agent at season’s end and is having the best year of his career. The left-handed hitter was batting .326 with a .367 on-base percentage, nine homers and 31 RBIs for the Brewers heading into Thursday night. He is probably the best possible fit for the Orioles this month. He’s a two-time Gold Glover, can play any outfield position and can lead off, which would allow Manny Machado to hit lower in the order. One source said the interest in Parrra throughout baseball has been high, meaning he’ll likely bring a solid prospect or two in return. It doesn’t appear that Thursday’s trade of Carlos Gomez will prevent the Brewers from dealing Parra as well.
Ben Revere: The speedy 27-year-old left-handed hitter would be a solid fit at leadoff and in left field, though he has primarily played center in his career. He was hitting .298 with a .335 on-base percentage and 24 steals for the Phillies heading into Thursday night. He is particularly intriguing because he doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2017 season, and that could drive up his price.
Josh Reddick: The Orioles have eyed the powerful left-handed hitter for some years, and he’s having another good season for the Oakland A’s, hitting .292 with 13 homers and 57 RBIs entering Thursday. But he is not a free agent until after the 2016 season, and A’s general manager Billy Beane has said he doesn’t want to deal players that are under team control for another year. So figure a no on this one.
Marlon Byrd: He’s 37 and batting just .240. But he entered Thursday with 16 homers for the Cincinnati Reds and would give the Orioles another power bat from the right side. Plus, he shouldn’t cost much in return. He has a vesting option that becomes a team option if he doesn’t reach 550 plate appearances this season. The sides have talked, but sources have said the Orioles aren’t too interested.
Will Venable: The 32-year-old is solid if nothing else. He is a free agent after this year and is currently batting .250 with six homers and seven stolen bases for the San Diego Padres. But like many of the potentially available outfielders, it’s not a certainty that he’s better than what the Orioles have.
Justin Upton/Carlos Gonzalez/Jay Bruce/Yoenis Cespedes: Any one of these guys would help. Cespedes could walk right over from the visitor’s dugout during this weekend’s series against the Detroit Tigers. But several industry sources have said the Orioles don’t have what it takes prospect-wise to land one of these guys.