Perhaps the Orioles’ willingness to trade Manny Machado isn’t a death sentence to their 2018 playoff aspirations. Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that although Baltimore is trying to trade their third baseman by the end of the week, they’re also “strongly pursuing” Royals starter Danny Duffy. It seems they could be looking to use a Machado trade as a means of retooling their major league roster, rather than go for an altogether rebuild. It’s all conjecture at this point, but in any case, the Orioles are in desperate need of good pitching, and although the southpaw Duffy spent some time on the DL last season, he posted quality results while on the mound despite a drop in strikeout rate from previous years. For the 2017 season, Duffy had a 3.81 ERA across 24 games started. Fangraphs estimated his value at 3.4 WAR.
A couple more items out of Camden Yards…
- Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com speaks at length about the Orioles in a video. At one point, he gives his insight on the dramatic shift in the O’s mindset regarding Manny Machado. “As late as Monday night, I talked to an Orioles official who said it was probably less than zero percent that Manny Machado would be traded before Opening Day,” Connolly says in the video. “And then… bam, everything changed.” Connolly wonders if perhaps the Orioles went into the winter meetings thinking that they had a great chance of improving their starting pitching (he mentions Mike Fiers and Tyler Chatwood as possible targets), but then felt disheartened when they watched their top choices go off the board. Since the Orioles don’t have the budget to play in “the stratosphere” of Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish, they may have needed a new and bold strategy to get the pitching they’ll require to compete. One incredibly important disclaimer: Connolly admits he’s only speculating. Still, from my perspective, his logic adds up.
- Speaking of Machado, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette says he’ll consider dealing the prized third baseman even to an AL East division rival (via a piece by Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun). Encina notes that the Yankees have shown interest in acquiring Machado, and I’d add that their farm system has some talented young pitching that could help the Orioles’ rotation. Baltimore isn’t a stranger to intra-divisional trades; as Encina points out, the O’s acquired Tim Beckham from the Rays at this past year’s trade deadline. He also includes quotes wherein Duquette mentions acquiring Andrew Miller from the Red Sox and Richard Bleier from the Yankees. Of course, none of these trades compare in magnitude to a hypothetical Machado swap, but it’s interesting to learn that Duquette is leaving the door wide open to this possibility. “I think you have to look at the entire market if you’re going to accurately assess the market,” he said in a video interview with the Baltimore Sun. “And the entire market would include teams in the American League East that we compete against.”