Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/9/12

If the season were to end at the All-Star break, the Baltimore Orioles would be a playoff team.

Given that scenario in March, Orioles fans would have been ecstatic.

Riding a string of 14 straight losing seasons and with a bevy of questions heading into Opening Day, the expectations weren't high for the 2012 Orioles.

The three weeks following the All-Star break will be crucial for the Orioles. Namely: What will they do, and who can they acquire?

Recent reports suggest the team has looked into acquiring starting pitching help -- particularly Brewers righty Zach Greinke and Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez.

The Orioles have two of the most attractive trade chips in all of baseball: shortstop Manny Machado and the game's top prospect, righty Dylan Bundy. But the club is set against dealing either of its two phenoms.

Instead, the Orioles could dangle some of their young pitching talent that has thus far defined the shortcomings of the 2012 squad: lefty Brian Matusz or righty Jake Arrieta.

Consistency in the rotation and defense at third base are the two primary concerns for the club moving forward.

Whether or not the second half of 2012 can live up to the first half, and no matter if the club can break its streak of losing seasons, the Orioles have shown a strong core of players yet to reach their primes. Most important, the Orioles have shown a tenacity unseen in Baltimore during the last decade.

A playoff shot remains a realistic possibility -- but would only come to fruition if the rotation and infield defense can improve.

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