What transpired was more shuffling and the club finds themselves just about where they were two weeks prior. They are certainly not out of the race, but the closer you get to that finish line the less optimistic one is about being stuck in the pack. You want to see some acceleration and space. The Orioles have not provided that. In fact, the word is slowing growing that the Orioles will be sellers, but their players have not been widely reported as being a part of active talks. As such, this column will try to tease out that last vestige of hope with thoughts on a potential deal.
The challenge facing the club is how exactly can they improve upon this season and, perhaps, next season with one of the worst farm systems in baseball and next to no excess room to take on any payroll? One target mentioned is Justin Upton (and for the purpose of this exercise let us forget his oblique issue). Upton has almost 5 MM left with his contact and he is probably viewed as a 1 win increase player for competitive clubs (which is worth about 15 MM, twice market rate). A one to one deal would be something akin to Upton for Hunter Harvey, assuming that he is considered a 50th-75th ranked prospect with his injury. A one for two deal could conceivably be Upton for Mike Wright and maybe Chance Sisco. The Orioles should try to slide Bud Norris into this deal simply to get rid of the salary.
For the Orioles, they might want to try to expand this deal to pay itself forward. This might include trying to find a way to improve outfield corner depth. With that in mind, the focus would be on someone like Wil Myers. Injuries and poor performances have sullied the shine he once held. However, not all hope is lost. I would still peg him with a 15 MM value (equivalent to a 50-75 overall ranked hitter). Below is a rough idea for a deal:
Justin Upton, RF +10 MM
Wil Myers, LF +15 MMSisco's inclusion permits the addition of Norris as a cost offset. Plus, it also gives the Padres more catching depth. Lough provides them with another centerfield option as well as being a guy who just might be useful enough to them next year. San Diego would probably prefer a SS or a more solid CF upper minors contributor, but the Orioles do not have that. Other teams might.
Kevin Gausman, SP +25 MM
Chance Sisco, C +5 MM
Bud Norris, P -3 MM
David Lough, OF ~
Finally, we can do a silly, convoluted deal.
Upton and Myers, +25 MMThis gives both clubs a couple things they need. It gives the Padres a cheap SP, a full fledged MLB SS, a good catching prospect, a flyer on a centerfielder, and some salary relief with Shields gone. For the Orioles, it improves their play this year with Upton in right field. Myers may be ready to return to action in late August and provide some help in left or as a designated hitter. He would also be cost controlled for the Orioles for the next several years. Clint Barmes provides some shortstop filler to cheaply spell Hardy who has disappointed. The rest of the year will see whether Barmes or Flaherty is worse there and open up discussion this offseason whether to shift Machado over. Finally, Shields provides back to mid rotation pitching for the next three years at the tune of 3/24 if you count the money from the Padres and the Hardy sunk costs as discounting Shields' pay. Needless to say, eight man trades with money are rare deals and are often things of fantasy.
James Shields, -25 MM
Clint Barmes, SS ~
Gausman, Sisco, Norris, and Lough +27 MM
J.J. Hardy, -10 MM
In fact, one might even say consideration of the Orioles as a buyer at this date is also a fantasy.
40 man roster