4 Baltimore Orioles trade targets to pursue this summer, including star closer

Baltimore Orioles
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‘The Baltimore Orioles are one of the best teams in baseball, sitting near the top of the MLB standings with one of the best pitching staffs and lineups entering MLB games today. However, just weeks out from the 2024 MLB trade deadline, there are plenty of ways for this club to improve.

Baltimore entered May with the third-most runs scored (157) in the majors, with the Orioles lineup also posting the third-highest wRC+ (118) and a league-high .450 slugging percentage. However, they’ve dropped to 23rd in runs scored this month and are just 13th in wRC+. Plus, there are some issues in the bullpen.

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Here are four Orioles trade targets that could be pursued this summer.

Connor Joe, 1B/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

Baltimore Orioles trade targets, Connor Joe
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While the Orioles lineup is certainly still above-average and is capable of hitting for plenty of power, it also ranks 15th in batting average (.244) and 23rd in OBP (.303) in nearly 50 games. Part of the problem is first baseman Ryan Mountcastle (.255/.295/.447) and outfielders Anthony Santander (.205/.283/.416) and Cedric Mullins (.190/242/.343) both struggling.

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We’re not suggesting Baltimore finds a full-time replacement for Mullins or Santander, both players could bust out of these prolonged slumps. However, the Orioles lineup would improve with the addition of an OBP threat with positional versatility who can start if needed. Connor Joe, in a contract year, can play the corner outfield or first base and he’s responsible for a .280/350/.476 slash line in 143 at-bats this season. Joe would be a low-cost addition who would add great depth for Baltimore and could start over Mountcastle or an outfielder.

Tommy Pham, OF, Chicago White Sox

Baltimore Orioles trade targets, Tommy Pham
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For whatever reason, MLB teams let Tommy Pham sit around in free agency into the season and it took the Chicago White Sox to give him an opportunity. At this point, he is clearly the player most deserving of representing the White Sox in the All-Star Game but that’s only if he isn’t traded before then.

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Pham is playing center field for Chicago, so that is at least something the Orioles could consider. Although, the 36-year-old really can’t be relied upon at that spot defensively. What Pham does bring is a great bat. He is slashing .314/.359/.453 with a .812 OPS and 131 OPS+ in his first 92 plate appearances with the White Sox. Over the last two seasons, he sports a 115 OPS+. Baltimore could conceivably add both Pham and Connor Joe to strengthen the depth of its lineup, addressing both first base and the outfield.

Nick Martinez, SP/RP, Cincinnati Reds

Baltimore Orioles trade targets, Nick Martinez
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Pitchers will obviously be the focus for the Orioles trade targets, but we do want to highlight an arm that would provide additional versatility. Nick Martinez could function nicely as an excellent reliever for Baltimore, but he would also offer a bit more starting pitching depth, especially in a pinch.

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Martinez does have a 4.23 ERA and 1.2 WHIP this season, but there are splits behind that. The 33-year-old righty has struggled as a starter (.337/.367/.489 slash line allowed), but has been lights-out coming out of the bullpen with a 417 OPS surrendered to opponents. The flexibility to be an opener, a multi-inning reliever or a late-inning guy should be quite appealing to the Orioles.

Mason Miller, CP, Oakland Athletics

Baltimore Orioles trade targets, Mason Miller
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Oakland A’s closer Mason Miller is the obvious headliner of Orioles trade targets this summer. Just 25 years old and under team control through the 2029 season, Miller’s team-friendly deal and his stuff as a closer check just about every box Baltimore will be looking at during the MLB trade deadline.

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Obviously, acquiring a player of Miller’s caliber will be expensive but the Orioles easily have the depth in their farm system to make it happen. In replacing Craig Kimbrel at closer, Baltimore would acquire a hard-throwing righty who has struck out 54.3 percent of batters faced this season with a 0.62 WHIP and .108 batting average allowed to opponents. Miller is the best closer available and if added to the Orioles bullpen, a weakness would become a strength.

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