After a surprising first half of the MLB season, Raul Ibanez could be traded to a team looking to add more offense. Could the Baltimore Orioles be interested? (Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images North America)
Trade speculation is one reason the month of July is so much fun for all baseball fans.
Most of the Baltimore Orioles trade rumors revolve around possible pitchers that could bolster the O’s rotation or their bullpen. Those reports are sensible when you consider, entering Friday night’s games, the Orioles still rank 28th in the league with a 4.39 team ERA. They’ve also allowed 123 home runs against — the most in all of baseball.
But could the Orioles be looking to add another bat to their already powerful lineup? While their pitching has allowed the most homers, the O’s have also hit more home runs (132) than any other team — the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays are tied for second with 115.
Back on July 6 the Orioles were rumored to be a suitor to acquire Chase Utley from the Philadelphia Phillies in case the oft-injured Brian Roberts could not return to his usual spot at second base.
However, it appears Roberts has once again settled into the role as the team’s everyday second baseman and has remained healthy since his return from the disabled list on June 30.
This season the Orioles have an All-Star centerfielder, an All-Star shortstop, an All-Star first baseman and an All-Star third baseman. So obviously there are very few holes in this team’s lineup.
One possible gap is the designated hitter spot.
Today the team put Nolan Reimold, who filled in as the team’s DH on many occasions, on the DL and he will undergo season-ending surgery to correct a spinal fusion. The club also designated Chris Dickerson, who also served as DH many times this season, for assignment and are looking to make a trade involving him.
Just yesterday the Orioles called up Henry Urrutia from triple-A Norfolk, a possible internal solution for the team’s DH needs.
But who are some outsiders the O’s could pursue to add more punch to the team’s potent offense?
Though currently listed on the 15-day disabled list, Aramis Ramirez is expected to return to action and could be one of many trade chips for the Milwaukee Brewers. (Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images North America)
Aramis Ramirez, Milwaukee Brewers — Obviously with Manny Machado at third base, Ramirez would be acquired solely for his bat. In 54 games for the Brewers, Ramirez is batting .271 with five home runs and 26 RBIs. There are two concerns for clubs looking to acquire Ramirez however. The first is his knee. Currently he is listed on15-day DL for a knee injury, he could return sometime next week. The second concern is his contract. Ramirez is signed through 2014 and is set to make $16M next season — that price tag would make him the highest paid Oriole should the current salaries stay the same.
Carlos Quentin, San Diego Padres — Quentin got a lot of attention earlier this season when he went at it with Zach Grienke. But since then has decided to let his bat do the talking. He’s batting .276 with 12 homers and 35 RBIs for the NL West cellar-dwelling Padres. Quentin could also continue the current rotation with Nate McLouth spending some time in the left field.
Raul Ibanez, Seattle Mariners — Ibanez broke the hearts of many Orioles fans last October when he hit two home runs late in Game 3 of the ALDS. The 41-year old has carried his heroics into 2013 and has been a considerable threat in the Mariners lineup. Ibanez is batting .267 with 24 home runs (tied for 5th most in MLB) and 56 RBIs. He’s a lefty and could benefit from the short porch in right field at hitter-friendly Camden Yards.
It’s fairly safe to say the O’s number one priority is pitching. But that doesn’t mean Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette won’t be looking to add some depth to his lineup.
The MLB trade deadline is July 31 at 4 p.m. EST and isportsweb.com will be updating regularly to cover all trades and rumors.