Orioles general manager Dan Duquette highlighted his concerns in an interview with ESPN's Jim Bowden on Sirius XM Radio on Sunday. In addition to improving his team's offensive production at second and third base, Duquette mentioned the bullpen as area he might target as the trade deadline approaches.
Baltimore might not have expected third base to be a problem this year, but Manny Machado's play -- and some questionable decision-making during on-field incidents -- has been less than ideal. He's hitting just .235/.290/.346 over his first 178 plate appearances this season. He's still just 21, so the issues he's dealing with at the moment aren't necessarily a long-term concern, but if Baltimore plans to make a run at the AL East this year, they might choose to add a bat at third.
At second, prospect Jonathan Schoop has underperformed as well, batting .224/.268/.343 with five homers and just seven walks in 215 plate appearances. Ryan Flaherty and Steve Lombardozzi have seen time at second as well, but the O's have had trouble getting consistent production.
Since the long-term answers seem to be in place, Baltimore might look to temporary solutions in the infield.
Their relief corps ranks 18th in the major in bullpen ERA at 3.69, and their collective fielding-independent pitching is among the worst in the majors. Zach Britton has filled in well as the club's closer. Ryan Webb and Darren O'Day have been effective as well, and T.J. McFarland has been slightly better than average so far, but beyond that, the Orioles' pen has been rather ineffective.
Patching up the bullpen shouldn't cost Duquette any topflight prospects, but he might be better off starting his search now because adding relievers is almost always a crapshoot -- especially in a hitter's park like Camden Yards.