As the trade deadline begins to approach rather quickly, trade rumors surrounding the Baltimore Orioles have become more and more abundant, and apparently, more realistic. While other teams have made major moves, the Orioles are yet to be active this trade season. However, that may change soon.
According to sources, the Orioles began trade talks with the Philadelphia Phillies for starter A.J. Burnett a few days ago. Burnett is coming off a surprisingly successful year for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season and has done alright for Philadelphia so far this year, with a 6-9 record and a 4.08 ERA. Burnett would be a minor upgrade for the Orioles, as he has been more productive than some of Baltimore’s starters, but he would not be the final piece to the Orioles’ puzzle.
The same goes for Rockies’ pitcher Jorge De La Rosa. Reports stated last week that the Orioles were in serious talks with Colorado to acquire the left-hander, who is 10-6 this year, with a 4.39 ERA. Like Burnett, De La Rosa would be a minimal upgrade to the Orioles rotation, and would add another left-hander to the mix, but is about the same caliber as the rest of the O’s rotation.
A bigger upgrade could be found in another Phillies pitcher, Cliff Lee. Lee made his return to the big leagues last night after missing some time with injury, and was a bit rusty. Lee currently sits at 4-5 on the season, with a 3.67 ERA.
Lee has been viewed as a top of the rotation pitcher for many years now and the Orioles could use an arm like his. Baltimore was reported to have scouts in Philadelphia last night to observe Lee, although many interested teams appeared to have scouts at the game as well. Lee would provide a solid, left-handed arm to the rotation and while he is not quite on par with the likes of pitchers David Price, or Chris Sale, he would definitely be an upgrade, and would provide experience to an otherwise young rotation.
The last player in the mix for Baltimore is another long time Philly, second baseman Chase Utley. Utley’s name has come up before in the Orioles’ trade rumors and now appears to potentially be getting more serious. While scouts were at the Phillies’ game last night watching Lee, they also took a look at Utley, as they have been now for a few weeks. Utley has had a very solid season and was a starting All-Star in last weeks game. Utley would be a major offensive upgrade for Baltimore, and would also provide a lot of experience and leadership.
With time ticking down until the trade deadline, teams should become more and more active and pieces should begin to fall (as they did today for the Yankees, acquiring third baseman Chase Headley from the Padres). The Orioles are a team in need to make a move to take them to the next level and it would not come as a surprise if they pull the trigger on a deal any day now.