Ravens acquire Ty Montgomery from Packers at trade deadline

On Tuesday afternoon the NFL trade deadline dominated the headlines with many big name players finding new homes across the league. The Ravens were not involved in one of the blockbuster deals but they still managed to make a low risk trade with the Green Bay Packers that could help their needs at the running back position.

Baltimore will receive Ty Montgomery from the Packers in exchange for a seventh round pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Montgomery was a third round pick in the 2015 draft and has started 14 games in Green Bay since then. He has accumulated just 849 rushing yards so far in his career but he does provide the Ravens with some options as a running back that can get involved in the pass game and special teams.

Baltimore’s offense has struggled to get the most out of its current running back core but Buck Allen currently fills the role of the receiving running back while Alex Collins does more of the work on the ground. At the end of the day neither Allen or Collins has been able to live up to the expectations surrounding them. Gus Edwards looked to provide a spark off the practice squad but his involvement has been shrinking since the Ravens win over Tennessee a few weeks ago.

Montgomery found himself on the trade block early this week after a costly fourth quarter fumble in this past Sunday’s game against the Rams. The 25-year-old running back coughed up the ball on a kick return late in the game and cost his team a chance at a potential game winning drive. Hopefully a change of scenery is beneficial for Montgomery but at the very least this is a lottery ticket move for the Ravens that could pay off down the stretch.

Image credit: Jeff Hanisch / USA Today Sports

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Orioles trade Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to Braves

BALTIMORE — With Tuesday afternoon’s trade deadline looming, the Baltimore Orioles surprised everyone by agreeing to trade Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to Atlanta.

The Orioles received four prospects in return for Gausman and O’Day – Infielder Jean Carlos Encarnacion, catcher Brett Cumberland, left-handed pitcher Bruce Zimmermann and right-handed pitcher Evan Phillips. The Braves have one of the most loaded farm systems in baseball and sent two of their top 30 prospects to Baltimore in the deal.

Encarnacion headlines the group as one of the best infielders coming up in the Braves system. He was signed in 2016 at the age of 18 out of the Dominican Republic and has spent the past two years playing rookie ball. In 2018 he was moved to Single-A Rome where he is currently hitting .288 with 10 homers and 57 RBI’s in just under 100 games. His 100 strikeouts are a concern but Encarnacion has shown a lot of potential as a hitter.

Standing at 6’3″, he could grow into a power hitter but for now his ability to make contact is enough to earn him attention. Defensively, Encarnacion has settled into a role at third base after initially playing some shortstop.

Cumberland rounds out the Braves top 30 prospect list as one of a few young catchers in their farm system. As a switch hitter, Cumberland has shown some power from both sides of the plate but often swings and misses. The 23-year-old has spent time at Single-A and Double-A this season where he is hitting just .228 with 90 strikeouts in 87 games. His defense behind the plate is still a work in progress as well.

Outside of these top 30 pickups, the Orioles also acquired two pitching prospects. Zimmermann will likely make more headlines in this deal as a starter, while Phillips continues to develop as a reliever. Zimmermann is a lefty with good strikeout numbers. In 20 starts between Single-A and Double-A, he has a 9-4 record with a 2.96 ERA. His 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings is also a good sign.

Phillips is a right-handed pitcher who started his minor league journey back in 2015. He currently finds himself at the Triple-A level with a 1.99 ERA and eight saves in 40.2 innings of relief. Phillips also made his major league debut with the Braves earlier this season but struggled in his brief appearances.

Throughout the month of July the Orioles front office has been dead set on just trading the players with expiring contracts. Dan Duquette and company stated that the door was also open for offers on players like Gausman, Jonathan Schoop and Mychal Givens, but until Tuesday afternoon this just felt like a safe media answer. In addition to the Gausman deal, the O’s ended up trading Schoop to the Brewers.

However, with Adam Jones‘s recent decision to not waive his no-trade clause, the Orioles may have felt more pressure to deal Gausman and Schoop, despite having years left on their contracts, to ensure that their farm system gets the overhaul it desperately needs.

Gausman was selected by the Orioles in the first round of the 2012 draft and made his major league debut a year later. By 2014 he was a consistent member of the starting rotation, earning seven wins in 20 starts. The Orioles had seemingly turned the franchise around after 2012 and Gausman was projected to be their No. 1 pitcher as they became perennial contenders.

While the 27-year-old has certainly looked like an ace on many occasions, he has struggled with consistency. Over the past five seasons in Baltimore Gausman has gone 36-46 with a 4.12 ERA.

Gausman will join an Atlanta team right in the middle of a playoff hunt. He will also be greeted by some former teammates like Nick Markakis and Ryan Flaherty. Fellow pitcher Brad Brach was also traded to the Braves this past Sunday.

If Atlanta does end up making the playoffs, Gausman has some experience under his belt that could benefit his new team. During the 2014 playoff run, Gausman never started a game but he did toss eight innings of relief between three games. In those appearances Gausman surrendered just one run and struck out seven.

O’Day is an interesting addition to the trade considering he finds himself out for the rest of the year. It’s not surprising that his name never came up in trade conversations after suffering the injury but with the Orioles moving toward a full rebuild, it makes sense to add him to this deal as a sweetener.

In seven seasons with the Orioles, O’Day accumulated a 28-14 record with a 2.40 ERA as a reliever. His unique pitching motion helped make him a deceptive change of pace coming out of the bullpen. In recent years he performed well pitching in the setup role before Zach Britton would enter for a save opportunity.

Image credit: Evan Habeeb / USA Today Sports

Orioles reportedly agree to trade Zach Britton to Yankees for three pitchers

BALTIMORE — During the rain delay in Tuesday night’s game against Boston it was reported that the Orioles and Yankees had agreed to a deal that will send Zach Britton to the New York Yankees in exchange for three pitching prospects.

The three minor league pitchers received being sent to Baltimore are Dillon TateCody Carroll and Josh Rogers. Tate and Carroll are ranked No. 9 and No. 15 respectively in the Yankees farm system by MLB.com.

After Manny Machado was sent to Los Angeles last week, trade talks started to heat up for Britton. The Astros and Dodgers joined the Yankees as the teams seriously involved in the talks. It was almost this time last year when the Orioles and Astros appeared to be close on a deal with Britton. However, the reports would end up being squashed at the deadline and it was later reported that Baltimore’s front office did not find the return that appealing.

Things have certainly changed since then and it hasn’t been to the O’s benefit. Britton was once the most coveted reliever in the league with as much trade value as a position player, but after suffering an achilles injury this offseason that value has dropped. Many thought that the O’s would have no chance of dealing their star reliever after the injury but when Britton returned in June there was some room for cautious optimism.

Since that return Britton has been shaky at times but has also looked like his old self on other occasions. The good news for Baltimore is trade deals for relievers are almost always based on what has been done within the past few months and while Britton isn’t pitching like he did in 2016, he has been solid in July. The O’s closer has tossed seven innings so far this month and given up just three hits while earning himself three saves and a win.

Just like with Machado, the Orioles fanbase will be sad to see Britton leave. The fact that the O’s will likely have to face him later this season makes things worse, but at the end of the day these deals had to be made. Britton initially came up through the Orioles farm system as a starter but was later converted to a reliever after finding a lot of success with his sinker. That pitch quickly became his go-to weapon while racking up 135 saves between 2014 and 2017. Everyone will remember Britton’s stellar 2016 campaign where he earned himself some Cy Young and MVP votes with a career high 47 saves and a 0.54 ERA.

Image credit: Greg Fiume / Getty Images