Orioles Need to Add Pieces for a Deep Playoff Run: 3 Possible Trade Candidates

Baltimore Orioles' Colton Cowser at Camden Yards

Getty Baltimore Orioles' Colton Cowser at Camden Yards

After losing 110 games in 2021 (their third straight 100-loss season not counting the 2020 pandemic year), the Baltimore Orioles began a resurgence culminating in a dazzling 101-win campaign in 2023.

This year, however, a team northeast of Camden Yards has been on the engine with the best record in the AL—those Bronx Bombin’ New York Yankees. As the middle of June approaches, most would say the road to the 2024 World Series goes through the Bronx.

Nevertheless, the Orioles are lurking just 2.5 games in back of said Yankees and are 23 games over .500; they’re good. The problem is, just as in 2023, there’s a lingering feeling of not being good enough again.

If the World Series is the end game, the Orioles cannot afford to be content with merely a Jack Flaherty-type addition at this year’s MLB trade deadline. The O’s need a bit more legit muscle of contention to flex this October, so let’s juggle 3 names who could help bolster the postseason ranks.

October Baseball Is a Different Animal

Making the playoffs is a good thing, but it gets old quickly when you get booted early in the festivities.

The O’s spent 77 days in first place in the American League’s Eastern Division last year, and their 101 regular season wins were only eclipsed by the 104-win Atlanta Braves.

Whenever the real season came around—the one with the “post” in front of it, the Orioles folded vs. the peaking and eventual World Champion Texas Rangers in the 2023 ALDS.

Unless they want a Deja vu debacle after winning who knows how many regular season games again this season, they had better add some gravitas to their roster.

The Orioles Need to Add a Quality Reliever

Tanner Scott/Left-Handed Pitcher

You’ve likely heard the name tossed about in the myriad of trade deadline speculation, and deservedly so. Tanner Scott is not only one of the better relief arms out there, he’s also a pending free agent who’ll almost certainly be traded.

Scott is having another good season and appears on the cusp of a nice summer run. Some point out the walks, but most of that stems from the first month of 2023 where he issued 13 walks compared to 12 strikeouts.

Opposing teams batted just .118 against him in May and .071 thus far in June. His fastball is upper 90s and he’s currently on a career-best streak in stats such as EV/EV Max, BABIP, and xwOBAcon. 

The one downside is the lack of postseason experience, but the Orioles have the resources to land him; the question is do they have the desire and wherewithal?

A Postseason-Pedigree Bat

Randy Arozarena/Left Fielder

For the first time in his career, Randy Arozarena is a negative-value guy (-0.2 fWAR), but he’s also a well-rounded player who is certain to have better times onward. This swoon cannot last, and maybe a new address with a contender is the magic jumpstart pill Arozarena needs.

The recent downturn may be a blessing when trying to land a baller with his resume who’s also under control through 2026. In other words, he could be a nice buy-lower pickup candidate.

Why you ask? Well, Randy Arozarena is built for October. In 113 postseason at-bats, Randy-A has 38 hits, 23 runs, 5 doubles, 11 home runs, and 17 RBI. That translates to a .336/.414/.690 slash and a filthy 1.104 OPS.

Like him or not, you want this dude on your lineup card when Fall Classic time rolls around. Looking at the 2023 ALDS vs Texas, the collective outfield for the Orioles went 6 for 33 at the dish. Perhaps Arozarena can change that.

Sometimes you just have to take an Alex Anthopoulos-sized gamble and see how it unfolds.

Another Postseason-Pedigree Bat

JD Martinez/Designated Hitter

If I were a network, many Orioles fans would likely be reaching for the remote right now to change the channel from any JD Martinez trade references.

The thing is (much like Arozarena), even at 36 years of age, Martinez is (still) the kind of guy you want up there with two on in a close playoff contest. The six-time All-Star and former World Series winner is on a dirt-cheap $4.5 million 1-year deal.

Martinez has been called “one of the most dedicated hitters you’ll ever see to his craft.” This type of pedigree is particularly valuable to a team with a younger and/or inexperienced postseason roster.

JD Martinez is strictly designated hitter material now. So what about Ryan O’Hearn? O’Hearn has the wRC+ advantage ( 138 to 124) and fWAR nod (1.4 to 0.4), but I won’t hold that against Martinez playing in that Flushing mess.

No comparison in October baseball, though. Martinez has 10 home runs and 31 RBI with a sweet .294/.386/.588/.974 slasher. I’m not saying ship O’Hearn, but since he can play in the outfield and first base, maybe they can find a place on the 40-man for some postseason gunpowder in Martinez?

Lots of other potential names will come and go between now and July 30, 2024 (I’m sure I’ll have a few myself). While the Orioles’ MO is to make sensible if not shrewd moves, don’t be surprised to see them step a bit out of their comfort zone this time around and land some bigger names (Justin Verlander types?).

The buzz on X is the Orioles are making inquiries so expect some transactions in the coming weeks.

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