A quiet trade deadline for the Orioles on Wednesday means the current iteration of the club will be the one to finish out the 2019 season, the first full year of what’s expected to be a long rebuild.
Knowing that, it was believed even players under club control for beyond this year — pending free-agent right-hander Andrew Cashner was traded to the Boston Red Sox earlier in July — would be available via trade for the right price.
That brought Trey Mancini, Mychal Givens, Dylan Bundy and Jonathan Villar into the mix as possible trade candidates. In the lead-up to the deadline, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde wouldn’t rule anything out, noting the organization’s oft-stated goals to add more talent into the organization.
Presumably, nothing offered for any of those players, or anyone else on the Orioles’ major league roster, met that criteria.
Instead the team only made a minor trade. Right-hander Dan Straily was sent to Philadelphia for cash, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak told reporters Wednesday.
Straily, who signed in early April after being released by the Miami Marlins, endured a miserable spell with the Orioles. He allowed 22 home runs in 47 2/3 innings with a 9.82 ERA in the majors before he was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk, where he had a 2.38 ERA in the Tides rotation.
The Orioles have dipped into the Norfolk pitching staff often of late, but with Straily off the 40-man roster, he was never an option. They plan to move forward with what they have.
Considering how important the Orioles considered their task of picking first in this year’s draft, trading at a time when the team was playing its best baseball wouldn’t have necessarily harmed their long-term plan. Mancini is still under team control for three seasons after this one and is the type of player who might be more valuable to the Orioles than anyone else at present, so he would have been a costly addition for a contender.
Givens, Bundy and Villar all have better baseball in them than they’ve played this year for the Orioles, but their futures with the organization could now be decided in the offseason.
All that made for a much quieter deadline than last season.
The teardown that occurred last July at the hands of then-executive vice president Dan Duquette saw the Orioles ship out stars Manny Machado, Zack Britton, Brad Brach, Darren O’Day, Kevin Gausman and Jonathan Schoop to herald the rebuild that’s now underway. The trades of Schoop to the Milwaukee Brewers and Gausman and O’Day to the Atlanta Braves came right at the 4 p.m. deadline.
While Schoop and Gausman could have been attractive pieces to move this year, the cupboard wasn’t bare. In veterans Cashner, Alex Cobb, Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis, the Orioles had several players who could have played themselves into being attractive to a contender this season.
Only Cashner did, with the Orioles selling while his value was at its relative highest earlier this month, acquiring a pair of 17-year-old Venezuelan prospects and taking on some of Cashner’s owed money for the privilege. Cobb made three starts after missing his Opening Day assignment because of injury, and eventually had season-ending surgery to repair a hip injury that caused back and groin problems.
Trumbo has made multiple attempts to make it back from a serious knee surgery last year, but hasn’t suited up for the Orioles in 2019. Davis has mixed in short spells of success with long stretches of futility in the fourth season of his seven-year, $161 million contract.
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Contending teams had the chance to add players through waiver trades until Aug. 31 in years past, but an offseason rule change made the only deadline July 31 for 2019 and beyond.