Earlier this week, Orioles general manager Dan Duquette seemed poised to market some of his veterans in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but that no longer looks like the case. Even though the Orioles are 46-50 and 4.5 games out of a wild-card spot, Duquette told reporters Saturday that they’re planning to approach the deadline as buyers. “Whatever we do [at the trade deadline], we are going to try to help the club,” he said (via Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, on Twitter). “I still like a lot of our core players. I don’t believe all the stuff that says we have half the club on the market, because we have a lot of baseball left to be played.” Specifically, the Orioles will attempt to upgrade a rotation that entered Saturday ranked in the majors’ bottom three in ERA (5.93) and fWAR (2.0). Duquette noted that “if we can get a little bit better starting pitching or add to the pitching we can make a run at this.”
A couple more notes from Baltimore:
- One of the few positives for the Orioles this year has been second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who has flashed improved plate discipline and slashed an excellent .303/.351/547 with 20 home runs in 388 PAs. The Orioles had interest in keeping him around for the long haul even before the season, as Duquette revealed that he discussed an extension with Schoop over the winter (Twitter link via Ghiroli). Whatever the asking price was then, it has certainly gone up between the 25-year-old’s 2017 performance and his dwindling team control. Schoop, who’s on a $3.475MM salary this season, has two more arbitration-eligible years before free agency.
- The Orioles may have a couple of trade chips in left-handers Alex Wells and Tanner Scott, both of whom have drawn interest, according to Duquette (Twitter link via Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com). A team called Duquette on Friday about the 20-year-old Wells, who has logged a 2.56 ERA, 6.97 K/9 and .88 BB/9 in 102 Single-A innings this season. He ranks as the Orioles’ 28th-best prospect at MLB.com, which places Scott 10th. “Teams covet” Scott, notes Connolly; although the 23-year-old has walked 5.98 batters per nine in 52 2/3 Double-A frames this season, he has posted an 11.45 K/9 and managed a stingy 2.05 ERA.