A lot of MLB teams are nervous about trading with teams within their division, but perhaps no club has been quite so paranoid as the Orioles under owner Peter Angelos. The last significant deal they made with an AL East team was in 2006, when they traded reliever Chris Britton to the Yankees for Jaret Wright and $4 million of the $7 million left on his contract.
They haven’t really taken a risk in a deal with an AL East rival since 2000, when they sent disappointing first-round pick Jayson Werth to the Blue Jays for reliever John Bale. Of course, Werth went on to become a star, but not until long after Toronto was done with him.
Fortunately, new GM Dan Duquette isn’t such a believer in avoiding deals within his division. He told WEEI’s Alex Speier today that, ‘If it’s good for our team…not as important who we trade with.”
Now he just needs to convince the guy who has the final say. The Orioles aren’t looking to sell at the moment, but they might be this summer, and they’ll be better off if Duquette is able to consider all offers, especially those that might lure some young talent away from the teams he hopes to overtake a couple of years down the road.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.