The Orioles netted a serviceable outfielder and potential leadoff hitter in Seth Smith during Friday’s trade with the Mariners, but comments from Baltimore GM Dan Duquette suggest that the club’s search for outfield depth isn’t quite over. The latest name to pop up on their radar could be that of free agent Brandon Moss, per a report from MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.
Moss, 33, finished a two-year stint with the Cardinals in 2016, slashing .225/.300/.484 with 28 home runs during his last season in St. Louis. While the veteran hitter suffered an untimely slump during the second half of the year, bottoming out with a .191 average to finish the season, his overall value rose from 0.5 fWAR in 2015 to 1.4 in 2016.
Like Smith, Moss could give the Orioles another left-handed hitter to try in the leadoff spot, as well as another platoon option in the outfield corner. His power potential has already drawn some interest from the Phillies this winter, who have reportedly been in talks with him since late December.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports Thursday that the Orioles “are said to have begun fielding calls of interest” on superstar Manny Machado and “are close to the point of seriously weighing whether to trade him.”
You’d think it would be a no-brainer for the last-place O’s to flip Machado — an impending free agent — for prospects, but Heyman notes there is “still a question whether or not longtime Orioles owner Peter Angelos” will give the go-ahead. One person familiar with the situation put it a “50-50” likelihood. Another suggested that it would take a massive return, which, sure.
Machado entered play Thursday with a sensational .328/.405/.635 batting line, 15 home runs, and an MLB-leading 43 RBI in 49 games. It’d be a real shock if he’s still wearing an O’s uniform by the end of July.
Heyman reported previously that at least nine teams made aggressive plays for Machado this winter, including the Cubs, Phillies, Dodgers, Indians, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, and Cardinals. A whole lot of those teams still make sense here in late May — maybe all of them except the White Sox.