Did I foresee the Orioles adding pieces like Jeremy Hellickson and Tim Beckham? No. It's a gamble, not acknowledging that the best-case scenario may be to fold and wait for next year. For better or worse, the second American League Wild Card keeps a lot of teams postseason hopes alive despite flirting with .500, and that includes the O's. They're back home and it's the time of year where a hot week or two can really catapult a club. Perhaps they'll prove all of our skepticism wrong.
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Any idea why the Rays gave up on Beckham? He's been great so far.
-- Dan T., Jacksonville, Fla.
Tampa Bay seems pretty sold on the idea that Brad Miller is its future, making Beckham easily expendable in the process. Obviously no one saw him doing the things he's been able to do since the trade. Right now, it looks like a bad trade for the Rays. But that's why you can't judge deals right away. The good thing, from the Orioles' side, is they have a young shortstop under team control and they've been able to find a consistent offensive threat in the middle of the infield with shortstop J.J. Hardy out. Sometimes players need a fresh start, and that's what Beckham has with Baltimore.
What's the plan with Anthony Santander?
-- Tim F., Catonsville, Md.
Santander -- the Orioles' No. 9 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com and also one of the club's Rule 5 Draft picks this past offseason -- was added to the roster from the disabled list on Wednesday night. He had been on the DL since the beginning of the season due to a right forearm strain that occurred in Spring Training.
The O's are certainly intrigued with Santander's bat. He batted .382/.453/.745 with five homers in his 13-game rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Frederick and Double-A Bowie. In 363 career Minor League games, Santander is batting .276 with 48 homers. He's an outfielder, but I'd think he wouldn't get a ton of playing time as the Orioles are still theoretically in the AL Wild Card race.
Keep in mind Santander could be an excellent pinch-hitter with roster expansion just around the corner. The bottom line is no one knows what Santander will be, but the O's had to add him to the roster to avoid losing him, and now they'll at least get a chance to take a better look.
What's the latest on Hunter Harvey? How soon can he help?
Harvey actually pitched really well in his last outing, on Wednesday night. The righty went three innings and struck out seven, allowing one hit for Class A Aberdeen in his fifth game. Health has been a concern, obviously, in his tenure in the Orioles' system. But he has the highest upside of any O's pitching prospect, and it's not close.
Harvey, ranked the No. 7 prospect in the organization, will finish out the Minor League season with a planned eight starts. He's been throwing since December, so he won't pitch in the Arizona Fall League to allows him to get some rest. But with the thin pitching depth in the Orioles' system and Harvey's upside, this is a big swing for him. I don't think it's out of the question to see Harvey at some point in 2018.
If Chris Tillman has another solid outing or two, will he go back in the rotation?
-- Jon T., Riverside, Calif.
It's certainly an option. There's no denying the Orioles are a better team when Tillman is pitching well. The problem is he hasn't been able to do that with any kind of consistency all season. Tillman is also entering free agency, and it would definitely be in his best interest to make a solid start or two to close the year -- similar to what Ubaldo Jimenez was able to do in 2016, when he was taken out of the rotation.
It's a little early for that though, barring an injury. Tillman has thrown just 2 1/3 innings in two appearances. While they've both been scoreless, unless there's an injury situation, I don't see how the O's can use a six-man rotation right now without sacrificing somewhere else. They need the bullpen arms because their starters haven't been able to consistently go deep. When rosters expand in September, however, it could be more of an option for manager Buck Showalter -- provided Tillman is back to his old self. Throwing three or four innings isn't helping him or the team.