BALTIMORE -- Fresh off a four-game sweep of the Rangers, the Orioles find themselves in a precarious position. At three games under .500 entering play Friday, they are just 3 1/2 games out of the second American League Wild Card spot.But they are also only 10 days away from the
BALTIMORE -- Fresh off a four-game sweep of the Rangers, the Orioles find themselves in a precarious position. At three games under .500 entering play Friday, they are just 3 1/2 games out of the second American League Wild Card spot.
But they are also only 10 days away from the non-waiver Trade Deadline, meaning the team's fate -- as sellers or not -- as the organization sees it will be revealed soon, and the three-game set against the AL-best Astros could go a long way in determining that.
"I like that people are talking about that," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of this weekend being a potential litmus test for his club. "Were the Cubs [who swept the Orioles prior to the Rangers series] a litmus test? They're very similar to the Cubs."
Yes, this Astros team is tough. But it won't get any easier for the Orioles, who will go on the road next week to play Tampa Bay and Texas. Baltimore is just 17-30 away from Camden Yards.
Would it be more prudent to deal relievers Zach Britton and Brad Brach and try to restock the farm system? Or hope instead that the Orioles' struggling rotation is turning a corner and they can make a run at a postseason spot? That's been the biggest question floating around Camden Yards the past week, one that has gotten more complicated given the team's four-game winning streak entering Friday.
"We know what this semi-Deadline is and I try not to dwell on it and keep in mind what my job is," Showalter said. "[Executive vice president of baseball operations] Dan [Duquette has] been kind of holed up working. I haven't really seen Dan -- you all haven't either -- for three or four days, but he's there and he's working and I have a lot of respect for what's going on this time of year.
"It's kind of like being locked up in a cave -- you kind of shut out the outside world for a couple weeks. Try to keep your thoughts on it. I trust him and like to think he trusts me. It's hard. We keep pushing."
There's been plenty of rumored interest in Britton and Brach, though the Orioles would also be willing to trade position players who could be gone next season such as Seth Smith, Hyun Soo Kim and Welington Castillo (who has a player option for 2018). For now, nothing is imminent and Showalter said he's OK not following every incremental change in the market.
"Eleventh hour, if we have something, I know Dan will kick it around with me and we'll see," Showalter said. "But I appreciate that he's not coming to me with every little thing out there, because that's not where my mind needs to be."
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.