In the late afternoon on Wednesday, rumors surfaced in Birdland about a certain Red Sox pitcher coming to a certain black-and-orange club. Twitter went wild, and I mean wild. Could Jon Lester actually come to the Orioles? And what for?
O’s: Hey. We’d like Lester. Sox: Offer? O’s: Two prospects. Sox: How bout 10 prospects? O’s: For a rental? Sox: Ok, nine. O’s: (Sigh)
— Kevin Van Valkenburg (@KVanValkenburg) July 30, 2014
Stop I really want Lester. But I don’t wanna give up Bundy, Gausman, or Harvey. This is like trading Pokemon cards 😩 — Scotty P. Bradley (@ScottyPBradley) July 30, 2014
If the #Orioles landed Jon Lester I’d lose it.
— Andrew Stetka (@AStetka) July 28, 2014
Excitement continued until the tides took a turn for the worse, when Dan Duquette told reporters that Hunter Harvey was out for the year. For some reason, maybe the fact that Harvey was part of a potential trade, talks with the Red Sox fizzled as quickly as we could say flexor mass strain.
Those few hours were so exciting, because the Orioles had finally realized what they need in order to start thinking of a World Series title. We needed a pure ace and we still need a pure ace.
This market was full of aces with a chance to be moved, but the Orioles could not lure any of them to Baltimore. Instead, the two pitchers the Orioles may have coveted the most went to the two teams that serve as biggest threats to postseason success: The Athletics and Tigers.
Thursday morning, Orioles fans woke up to “Jon Lester to the A’s” headlines and went to sleep with visions of David Price, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer dancing through their heads. Just to be clear, those were nightmares you had, much different than the night before Christmas.
The Orioles missed out on an opportunity to gain the piece that separates them from the top two teams in the AL. However, they did improve.
Towards the end of the trade sweepstakes, the Orioles found one of the pieces that Dan Duquette was looking for: Andrew Miller of the Red Sox. Miller is a lefty reliever, an area where the Orioles needed to bolster in order to match up with certain batters if they make the postseason.
Miller boasts a strong 2.34 ERA and 0.90 WHIP (tied with Zach Britton), as well as a 5.31 K/BB ratio. He sure can get batters out and will help us down the road as we fight for an AL East crown.
However, I can’t shake the idea of what could have been. If we had hauled in Lester, the Athletics’ rotation would look a lot worse and ours a lot better. Who knows, maybe the Tigers would not have been pressured to make the move for David Price as the deadline neared.
With Lester, the Orioles would have been World Series contenders. With Miller, the Orioles are still a second-tier team fighting to make the playoffs.
Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in the Orioles as a team. However, when matched up against Gray-Lester-Samaradzija or Scherzer-Price-Verlander in a playoff series, I don’t like our chances.
The Orioles became a better team at the trade deadline. The only problem is that the others improved even more than the Orioles did. I still like our chances to get out of the AL East, but the ALDS and beyond will be a tough road.
However, we’ve learned that the Orioels are a resilient bunch, If anyone can do it, it could be us.