The bad version of the Baltimore Orioles gave the New York Yankees a hard time in both 2020 and 2021. They’ve barely faced off in 2022, but this version of the O’s, as of this writing, is a fringe AL Wild Card team. Absolutely shocking.
That makes their involvement at this year’s trade deadline a bit complicated. Should they buy and make a bigger push for the postseason? Or should they sell and collect strategic assets for 2023 and 2024, when they can really make a splash?
What about a little of both?! The hybrid re-tool could be the perfect plan for the Orioles, as MLB insider Ken Rosenthal expressed in his most recent column.
Why should Yankees fans care about this? Because these two teams have conducted business in the past, with the Zack Britton trade being the most recent back in 2018. Clearly, the O’s weren’t fearful of making the Yankees better — like so many other teams are.
Could there be another dealing between the division rivals at this year’s deadline? Baltimore has some pieces that won’t be particularly expensive that might pique the Yankees’ interest.
Could the Orioles help out the Yankees at this year’s trade deadline?
Among the Orioles’ reasonable sell-able assets are outfielders Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander as well as starter Jordan Lyles, all of whom could be of interest to the Yankees.
New York needs outfield help, assuming Joey Gallo is jettisoned (which he likely will be), and that’s where Mancini and Santander might be of service. Santander might be the better option, though, because he’s a switch hitter and has had much more outfield exposure than Mancini in recent years, since the O’s legend has largely been taking reps at first base. Mancini is also a righty, is a free agent after this season, and possesses an escalated salary ($7.75 million this year compared to Santander’s $3.15 million and two more years of club control).
Both have been effective in different ways at the plate, with Mancini offering more average and OBP and Santander delivering more power (15 homers in 80 games).
And then there’s Lyles, who by no means is an essential target, but he’s on a $6 million salary (Yankees would inherit under $3 million) and he can eat innings at a totally mediocre rate. Across 17 starts (98 innings) this year, the right-hander owns a 4.50 ERA, 4.15 FIP, 1.40 WHIP and 81 strikeouts. His advanced metrics are pretty darn bad, but perhaps pitching coach Matt Blake can work with his four-pitch offering.
Plus … anything’s better than Andrew Heaney eating innings, which was the Yankees’ deadline plan last year, right?