BALTIMORE -- Not a lot has gone right for the Orioles of late, which begs plenty of questions. With that, let's get to my overflowing Inbox and look at your most common questions ...Are the Orioles any closer to trading Manny Machado?
-- Kyle K., BaltimoreOf course they are. Each
BALTIMORE -- Not a lot has gone right for the Orioles of late, which begs plenty of questions. With that, let's get to my overflowing Inbox and look at your most common questions ...
Are the Orioles any closer to trading Manny Machado?
-- Kyle K., Baltimore
Of course they are. Each loss drops them further and further out of contention and, thus, makes it a lot more plausible that they'll go from just gauging interest to having actual trade conversations.
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But any trade that involves Machado has a few important things to consider. First, they aren't just giving him away. They didn't find any suitable offers this winter (they wanted two young, controllable Major League-ready pitchers), and they won't just give him away now. Yes, Machado would be a rental, but the Orioles are going to have to get back at least one elite prospect.
Also, fans who are calling for Machado to be dealt now while his stock is high need to keep in mind that the closer you get to the Trade Deadline, the more desperate teams often become. Other teams could find themselves with an injury situation like the Dodgers. The O's are listening, but they don't feel pressured to deal him right away. As long as he stays healthy, Machado's stock isn't dropping. People know what he can do. A bad week or so at the plate isn't going to change that.
Why won't the organization just bring up all the young players and see what they've got? Seems like the season is lost already.
-- Jeff F., Hagerstown, Md.
What young players? I get this question a lot, and that's typically my response. The top prospects in the Orioles' system, we can probably all agree, would be Hunter Harvey, Tanner Scott, Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle. Even if the O's decided to bring all four of those guys up, I doubt they'd have a better team.
Harvey needs some innings under his belt and to get on a consistent schedule. No one is sure if Mountcastle can hold his own defensively at third base. Hays is in Double-A and batting .243 with five homers and 12 RBIs. While he and Scott -- who has added length to the bullpen already this year and will definitely come up again -- may be in play for upcoming roster moves, it still doesn't constitute enough of an impact at the big league level.
• Orioles' top 30 prospects
The Orioles' system still lacks depth, which is why they had to go out and claim guys like Jace Peterson and hang on to Anthony Santander. I'm not saying roster changes aren't looming -- you'd have to assume some are, with the way the team is playing -- but the Orioles aren't the White Sox. They don't have hordes of young prospects and game-changing players down below. The last time they did was when they added Machado to a postseason race.
What's the deal with Adam Jones' hand?
-- Katie R., Washington
An X-ray was negative on Jones' sore right hand and wrist, and Jones told reporters in Oakland on Sunday he was fine. With Monday's off-day, he will get a few days to rest up -- as will Trey Mancini (right knee soreness) -- and it doesn't appear to be anything serious.
When does Jonathan Schoop return? And who goes?
-- Joe S., York, Pa.
Schoop is expected to be available as early as Tuesday to rejoin the Orioles. My guess would be Engelb Vielma would be the guy to get optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk, as they've had both Pedro Alvarez and Danny Valencia in the infield before and those guys could presumably provide depth.
The Orioles have missed Schoop, there's no question about it. But they also had to be careful in not bringing him along too soon from an often pesky oblique injury. He's slated to continue his rehab again on Monday night and be evaluated from there, though I'd be surprised if he's not back with the O's over the next day or two.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.