Baseball’s nonwaiver trade deadline came and went Monday without the Nationals and Orioles making history together. The two teams, separated by 38 miles and involved in a bitter legal battle over TV revenue from the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, haven’t executed a trade since baseball returned to D.C. in 2005. The last deal between the franchises came in 2001, when the Expos sent 42-year-old Tim Raines to Baltimore.
Given the animosity between the two teams and some of the reports of what the Orioles wanted in return for closer Zach Britton, it’s hardly surprising that the trend continued this week as Raines was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo, who worked out a deal for Twins closer Brandon Kintzler to bolster Washington’s bullpen before the deadline, addressed the notion that the Orioles and Nationals would “never” trade with each other during a Wednesday interview with the Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan.
“I would say that it would be a bad business move for Baltimore not to trade with Washington and Washington not to trade with Baltimore just because of a geographical proximity,” Rizzo said. “[Orioles GM] Dan Duquette is a smart guy, I worked for him in Boston, and he’s done a great job with the Orioles, and they know what they’re doing there. If they had a deal that they thought would work for him, then they’d have to make it and they would make it because it’s good business. As I’ve always said, when I talk about trades, it’s more about what I get than what I give in a trade. If I get what I want and what I need and it helps me get to where I want to get, then I’ve made a successful trade and I think they’d be in the same situation.”
It’s unclear that Duquette and the Orioles do know what they’re doing, or where they want to get, this season and beyond. Conventional wisdom said that Baltimore would be a seller at the trade deadline, and that Britton and fellow reliever Brad Brach would be shipped elsewhere to help restock the farm system. Instead, both players stayed put, and the Orioles’ next trade with the Nationals will be their first.
According to Baseball Reference’s trade history database, the Nationals have made 116 trades with 28 different teams since 2005. Washington’s most common trade partner is the Athletics, with the acquisitions of Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson last month marking the 13th deal between the teams.
Meanwhile, the Orioles have made 144 trades with 28 teams since 2005, most often with the Cubs (12). Baltimore’s rotation might not be as wretched this season if it had made one fewer trade with Chicago. Four years ago, the Orioles shipped future NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta to the Cubs for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger at the trade deadline. The Post’s Barry Svrluga later reported that the Nationals were interested in the underperforming Arrieta, but the Peter Angelos-owned Orioles were determined to deal him anywhere but D.C.
While the Orioles’ seeming aversion to trading with the Nationals might be unrivaled, deals between teams in close geographic proximity are rare across the league. The Cubs and White Sox completed a trade for the first time in 11 years last month, when the defending World Series champions acquired starting pitcher Jose Quintana from their Chicago neighbors to the south. The Dodgers and Angels have made three trades since 2005. The Mets and Yankees have made one. The A’s and Giants haven’t done a deal since 2004. Entering this year’s trade deadline, MLB.com reported that only two teams — the Diamondbacks and Rangers — had made at least one trade with every other franchise over the past 10 years.
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