Are Recent Moves a Sign the Baltimore Orioles Will Play It Safe at the Deadline?

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIJuly 18, 2013

SAN JUAN - MARCH 8: Osmany Urrutia #46 of Cuba swings at the pitch during the game against Panama at the World Baseball Classic at Hiram Bithorn Stadium on March 8, 2006 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Less than a year after defecting from Cuba, Baltimore Orioles prospect Henry Urrutia is ready to make his MLB debut.

According to Roch Kubatko of, the Orioles are bringing him to Texas for a workout and will then add him to the roster afterward:

While Urrutia isn't listed as one of the top 20 Orioles prospects, according to, his play has forced the hand of upper management.

Between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk this year, Urrutia is batting .365 with seven home runs, 43 RBI and has scored 45 runs. He also has an on-base percentage of .427 and a slugging percentage of .531.

Needless to say, he's done what he's supposed to do. 

As the Orioles are rumored to be looking for a bat on the trade market, Urrutia could solve that need without the team having to give up prospects.

Designated hitter has been an area the team has needed to address this year, as the position is currently hitting .197, collectively. There have been 14 home runs and 40 RBI coming from that position, but also 100 strikeouts.

With the call-up, does that mean the Orioles will play it safe at the deadline?


Wait and See

My best guess is the Orioles are bringing up Urrutia to see what he can do in the big leagues.

If he performs like he did in the minors this year, the Orioles won't have to worry about seeking a bat on the trade market.

That means they'll get to keep some of their top prospects.

However, if Urrutia doesn't pan out, there's still time for the Orioles to make a trade. But if that happens, they'll likely have to give up one of their top 15 prospects to get an impact bat.

Look at it this way: Urrutia has a 10-game trial with the Orioles. Upper management can keep trade discussions ongoing so they can make a move at the 11th hour, but it's also giving Urrutia a chance to prove himself.


Deadline Plan

The move seems to show the Orioles are trying to play it safe at the trade deadline, wanting to hold on to their top prospects.

In another move to support that thought, the Orioles agreed to sign fellow Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez, according to Jesse Sanchez of

While Alvarez likely won't make a difference this year, it goes to show you the Orioles are planning for the future.

But if Urrutia is a success, that doesn't mean the Orioles aren't going to make any moves at the deadline. It just means that's one less thing to worry about. With the designated hitter problem out of the way, Baltimore could then focus on bringing in an extra relief pitcher or starter.

Instead of going for a middle-of-the-road guy, the Orioles could then afford to go for one of the top starters or relievers on the market.

So if it does work out, it gives the Orioles more options.

Regardless of what happens, it seems the Orioles are set up for the present and the future. But will that result in a World Series crown?

I guess we'll have to wait until October.


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