So, three of the biggest names potentially available at the non-waiver trade deadline are already off the block.
Philadelphia Phillies' lefty Cole Hamels signed a six-year, $144 million contract extension, while the Miami Marlins traded third baseman Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers dealt pitcher Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels.
And I know what some of you are thinking: If the Orioles badly need a third baseman and a top-of-the-rotation starter, why didn't they trade for Ramirez or Greinke?
The answer is simple: They weren't willing to give up what it would take to land such a big fish (or Brewer). Or, perhaps more accurately, outside of coveted prospects Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado, they simply didn't have enough talent to get the big fish.
The Angels gave up three minor leaguers for two-plus months of Greinke. That included 22-year-old shortstop Jean Segura, the Angels' No. 2 prospect to start 2012, according to Baseball America (behind only Mike Trout).
Basically the Angels dealt their Machado to get Greinke, a pending free agent.
To obtain Ramirez, the Dodgers traded two minor leaguers away and picked up Ramirez's salary. Some national pundits said the Marlins didn't get enough back – especially since they had acquired highly touted right-hander Jacob Turner, among others, from the Detroit Tigers for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante earlier this week.
But the Dodgers traded away 22-year-old Nate Eovaldi who throws in the mid- to high-90s and has already appeared in 38 big league games (with a 3.96 ERA).
The Orioles don't have an Eovaldi, whom Baseball America ranked as third in the Dodgers' system to start 2012. In comparison, Bundy's ceiling is higher, but Zach Britton (24), Brian Matusz (25) and Jake Arrieta (26) are older than Eovaldi and have posted higher ERAs in the majors (albeit in the AL East). Parker Bridwell, who turns 21 next week, is the Orioles' No. 4 prospect, according to Baseball America, so maybe there's a comparison there. But he has a 6.30 ERA at Low-A Delmarva this year.
The bottom line is this: The Orioles are interested in all of the top available players. But, without Machado and Bundy, they don't have enough to get them.
They could probably pry something decent loose from a team for an Arrieta or maybe Matusz, but the team believes it would be selling low on that duo. So that probably won't happen either.
The sense now – after some big names have changed locations – is what it has been for weeks. The Orioles likely will make a trade or two, but they'll be mid-to-lower range pieces for mid-to-lower range prospects.