07/31/12 7:55 PM ET
Orioles pass on deal for pitching at Deadline
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
With several deals being discussing in the hours leading up to Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, including veteran right-hander Joe Blanton of the Phillies, O's executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette stood pat and did not make a move. Duquette said on a conference call with reporters that before the Deadline, he still believed he would be able to get something done, with a Blanton deal rumored to be very close to completion at various times of the day.
"At this time of year, it's cost of talent and cost of adding salaries to your roster," Duquette said. "Those are the two costs. We had resources set aside on both ends, players that we could trade and money that we could add. It didn't work.
"Sometimes when you have the solutions in house, which I think we do -- I think we have significant solutions to some of our issues here already in the organization -- my experience is that you need to recognize that. Some teams like some of our young pitching. Our job now is to get that young pitching to the point where they can pitch productively for us in Baltimore."
Duquette made it no secret that the organization was targeting additions to its rotation, but Blanton -- owed almost $3 million over the season's last two months -- wasn't enough of an upgrade, and the two teams couldn't reach common ground on money or prospects.
While Duquette was aggressive in his attempt to acquire a starting pitcher, he acknowledged several times in the days leading up to the Deadline that it was a difficult market, with a lot of teams looking to add and few selling. Baltimore's trade chips -- beyond top prospects Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado, who were off the table -- simply didn't match up with those of other organizations, and the Orioles were unwilling to part with righty Jake Arrieta or any other young pitcher.
"The opportunities we looked at had a cost, and I wasn't convinced that they were a lot better than the people we had in the organization," Duquette said. "Hence, we weren't able to make some of the deals we had on the table."
Instead, Baltimore's inconsistent rotation will hope that righty Jason Hammel, recovering from right knee surgery, will be able to return in early September and its young starters can step up. Hammel is close to returning to baseball activities, and the club remains optimistic he can provide a boost in the final month of the season.
The O's entered Tuesday two games out of an American League Wild Card spot and 6 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading Yankees. Ideally, the club would like to improve its starting pitching but will now look to young arms Chris Tillman and Zach Britton to step up. There is also the hope that struggling starters Arrieta and Brian Matusz -- who have both been both demoted to Triple-A Norfolk -- can get back on track.
"We hope to get some of these guys off the 60- and the 15-[day disabled list]," manager Buck Showalter said. "We have good options in Norfolk, where they are starting to present themselves. That's where I'm dwelling. I know what you're asking, but some of the best things you don't do are the things that aren't productive for your short-term and long-term success.
"Like I told you all along, I don't think players need to hear me strumming my fingers, trying to figure out who's coming. I have a lot of confidence in the people who are evaluating that."
Now that the non-waiver Deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players already have cleared waivers. In other words, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of the teams, he cannot be traded. The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player. So there remains a chance that Duquette, who has made it clear he wants to win this year, could make a move.
"We're still in contention," Duquette said. "We'll be getting some players back to help the team. And I still think we have pretty good depth.
"There will be other opportunities to add to the team. We've been adding to the team steadily as the season has come on. We would have liked to have done a deal or two today, but I don't think we're done adding to the team."
In the meantime, the Orioles will go with the same roster that got them this far, hoping they can find internal solutions to their problems. Asked if the players in the clubhouse should take the lack of trade activity as a compliment, Showalter said, "They should take it that way. What other way is there to look at it?
"You spend so many times coveting somebody else's players to decide that the solution may be in your own backyard. ... The biggest thing clubs can do is know their own, know thy self. So not a whole lot changes from that perspective."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.