Can the Baltimore Orioles claim an AL Wild Card spot?

Apr 17, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; The Baltimore Orioles mascot performs after the game against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 17, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; The Baltimore Orioles mascot performs after the game against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports /
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During the early part of spring training, many MLB analysts believed the Baltimore Orioles were going to be the laughingstock of Major League Baseball. Well, the Orioles are certainly trying to prove all the haters wrong.

With their payroll of only $30.3 million, the Baltimore Orioles are finding themselves in the playoff hunt. The Orioles are ranked 29th among MLB payroll, sitting just in front of the Cleveland Guardians for the last spot. What is crazy about this 2022 season is that the Los Angeles Angels have a worse record than the Orioles and they are spending roughly $131 million more. That statement right there shows spending money is not always the answer in Major League Baseball.

Do the Baltimore Orioles have a shot at the American League Wild Card slot?

Currently, the O’s have a record of 39-44 and sit six games back of the last Wild Card spot. The American League Wild Card is wide open as the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, and Toronto Blue Jays only have a half-game separating each other. There are several other teams in the mix for those three Wild Card spots, but none of them have been very consistent in the first half of the season.

The Orioles are riding a four-game winning streak, with two winnable series coming up against the Angels and the Chicago Cubs. The Orioles can make up some ground against a division rival, the Rays, with a three-game series right before the All-Star break. If the Orioles can win the next three series, they can find themselves right in playoff contention going toward the second half of the season.

The question is … do the Orioles have enough to be consistent? With such a young roster, it is difficult to tell how much the Orioles have left in the tank. Right now, though, they are playing like they have nothing to lose.

Are the Baltimore Orioles a buyer or seller before the trade deadline?

With a team with only $30.3 million on their payroll, can the Orioles go out and get a veteran from another team that is looking for some young prospects? These next three series will be the breaking point for the Orioles to decide if they want to roll the dice with the roster they have or go out and make a move. With rumors of the Orioles possibly trading Trey Mancini to the Mets, it looks like the Orioles could throw in the towel for any postseason chance.

Instead of making a move before the trade deadline, the Orioles might target their farm system to add some depth to the roster. Adding depth to either their starting rotation or bullpen would be key to Baltimore’s success. To help with their pitching, the Orioles claimed Kirk McCarty off waivers from the Guardians. As stated in this article, “McCarty made his big league debut with the O’s this season but was hit hard, surrendering 13 runs (12 earned) on 18 hits and six walks with eight punchouts in a dozen innings. Of those 18 hits he yielded, a whopping six were home runs.”

McCarty pitched fairly well in Triple-A this season with a 3.77 ERA, so he is worth a second shot. As of now, the Orioles are not sure if they will add McCarty to the rotation or use him in the bullpen.

Keep a close eye on the Orioles for the remaining month of July to see how they will handle the trade deadline. If the Orioles can keep this hot streak going till the All-Star break, general manager Mike Elias will have some decisions to make. Will Elias keep the Orioles in contention, or will the Orioles miss the postseason for the sixth year in a row? Time will tell but, right now, the Orioles are the Cinderella of Major League Baseball.