(Derick E. Hingle – USA TODAY Sports)
The Baltimore Orioles addressed one of their needs earlier this week when they acquired starting pitcher Scott Feldman from the Chicago Cubs.
What other moves could the Orioles make to bolster their roster?
Perhaps the weakest spot in the Baltimore lineup is second base. The name Brian Roberts might as well have been printed in the leadoff spot on the team’s lineup card prior to 2010. But that’s not the case anymore and hasn’t been the case since 2009.
From 2010 through 2013, Roberts has played in just 123 games due to various injuries. This season the team has mostly rotated between Alexi Casilla and Ryan Flaherty.
Roberts played the first three games of 2013 and then went down with a hamstring injury. After undergoing surgery, Roberts returned to the O’s on June 30 and has played in five straight games.
Between Casilla, Flaherty, Roberts and Yamaico Navarro, Orioles second baseman have batted .228 this season with eight home runs and 30 RBIs. Flaherty has been the main contributor with six homers and 17 RBIs.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSsports.com, Chase Utley of the Philadelphia Phillies is one potential trade target to fill a team’s second base needs, though Heyman says the Los Angeles Dodgers may be front runners. And the Phillies have yet to make it known whether they will be buyers or sellers as the July 31 trade deadline fast approaches.
Like the 35-year-old Roberts, Utley is also in his mid-30s and he too has had injury concerns over the last two seasons, playing in 140 games between 2012 and 2013.
Utley ranks fifth in home runs by second baseman this year with 11 and has driven in 30 runs in 57 games for the Phillies, who are in third-place in the National League East and trail the Atlanta Braves by 8.5 games.
Another Phillies player that could be on the move is 36-year-old Michael Young. In 79 games this season he is batting .281 with five home runs and 22 RBIs. Throughout his career, Young has primarily played on the left side of the infield; however he spent some time at second base for the Texas Rangers in 2011 and 2012.
Should Philadelphia decide to become sellers later this month, Utley and Young seem likely trade chips given their ages and contracts — both are signed through 2013 and have no-trade clauses according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts so they would have to waive those if Baltimore is listed in the clauses.
The Orioles trail the Boston Red Sox by five games in the American League East and are currently second in the AL Wild Card standings behind the Rangers by two games.
The MLB trade deadline is July 31 at 4 p.m. ET.