After a shocking run to the AL Wild Card in 2012, the Baltimore Orioles have had an extremely quiet off-season; sitting idly by whilst their AL East brethren make all the moves.
Ken Rosenthal says that while the Orioles have yet to make a serious move this Winter, they have been in talks to obtain the biggest prize on the trade market, Justin Upton of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Rosenthal adds, however, that Baltimore’s interest peaked a couple weeks ago and that talks have cooled. The Orioles, according to Rosenthal, seem focused on adding pitching.
Upton’s name has been linked to just about every team in the league this off-season, it seems. After being dangled as trade bait in each of the past two years, it looked like D-backs GM Kevin Towers would finally unload his star right fielder this Winter, but to this point no one has been willing to meet the sizable return package Towers has been demanding.
Arizona has a glut of outfielders on their roster and after the signing of free agent Cody Ross they almost have to make a trade at some point before Spring Training opens next month. Arizona has also drawn interest on left fielder Jason Kubel, who is older but owed significantly less money. Upton is under contract through 2015 at a total of $38.5 million; a paltry sum for a 25-year-old with the talent Upton has, especially when compared some to the contracts that have been handed out this off-season.
The Yankees will continue to be elite and the Rays are there every year. Boston has made wholesale changes to try to get back to the top of the East, and Toronto has completely re-vamped their roster and look to be a much stronger team. Meanwhile, the Orioles have done virtually nothing.
Sooner or later, Upton will be traded. It would behoove O’s GM Dan Duquette to make sure he’s put together the package that ultimately lands the best available hitter. The Orioles came from nowhere to make a playoff run in 2012, but they won’t have enough to get back in 2013 without making some additions.