The Baltimore Orioles are flying high. After a dominant series win over the rival New York Yankees in the Bronx, the O’s and their fans have their sights firmly set on a World Series in 2024.

But it’s Major League Baseball, so winning it all is never easy. With the MLB trade deadline starting to creep up, there are plenty of housekeeping items for the Orioles to take care of. And because Baltimore has many of the game’s most coveted prospects, they’re going to have the rare privilege of controlling the deadline despite being buyers in a sellers’ market.

With that power in mind, what must the Orioles do to make this trade deadline a home run? Who needs to walk through the home clubhouse doors of Camden Yards between now and August? That’s what we’ll discuss in this piece.

Orioles must acquire a No. 2 starter

Corbin Burnes has been a godsend for the Baltimore rotation, instantly providing validation for general manager Mike Elias boldly acquiring the ace in the off-season. Unfortunately, the rest of the rotation has been crumbling around Burnes, and repairing it needs to be the primary focus between now and July 31.

The Miami Marlins’ Jesús Luzardo and Chicago White Sox’s Garrett Crochet are the two marquee names Baltimore should be gunning for. Luzardo has ace potential and his track record as a starter is longer, while Crochet has pitched like an ace all season but has already exceeded his career-high innings pitched as a big leaguer.

It’s a tough call between the two, but the O’s surely have a preference. This writer would opt for the safer play in Luzardo, but it's really Baltimore's call. They need to zero in on the man they want and pay the asking price to ensure he wears black and orange when we come to October.

With Kyle Bradish and John Means done for the season and Dean Kremer on the 15-day injured list, there will be a lot of stress on the back half of Baltimore’s rotation until the trade deadline. But if Elias does pull the trigger on one of those lefty horses… look out, American League.

Orioles bullpen needs a facelift

Miami Marlins relief pitcher Tanner Scott (66) pitches against the New York Mets during the ninth inning at Citi Field.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s been one area of discomfort that hasn’t relented since Opening Day for the Orioles, it’s been the bullpen. They have the third-best bullpen ERA, but their 14 blown saves are sixth-most in MLB. The O's also now lead MLB with a +125 run differential, but their record in one-run games is just 7-10.

Félix Bautista was Mr. Automatic in save situations for the O’s last year, so naturally, 36-year-old Craig Kimbrel has been a downgrade. But Baltimore’s issues run deeper, since depth has run thin in the ‘pen with Albert Suarez being forced into a starting role and Danny Couloumbe hitting the IL.

In a perfect world, the O’s would add two new arms to the relief mix, perhaps a lefty and a righty to give Brandon Hyde an ideal balance in late-inning situations. The Miami Marlins’ Tanner Scott and Chicago White Sox’s Michael Kopech would be incredible fits, but perhaps acquiring both is unrealistic. Then again, if Elias wants to unload the farm, he can do pretty much whatever he wants.

Baltimore needs to bring in a center fielder

It’s been a tough season for Cedric Mullins, but the longtime Orioles center fielder finally broke through in the Bronx this weekend, following up a game-winning RBI single Wednesday night with a two-run homer on Thursday, his first dinger since April 26.

Still, the Orioles are disappointed in Mullins’ performance and looking for an upgrade, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Mullins is hitting .197 with a .588 OPS on the season and although his defense has been very good, it's not worth the trade-off of a replacement-level bat in the lineup every day.

Mullins’ performance in New York may have quieted calls for Luis Robert Jr., but one could still hardly fault Elias and the Orioles brass for going after La Panterra if they think he’s worth it. Plus, the Orioles could shuffle Robert, Ryan O’Hearn, and Ryan Mountcastle around and keep Mullins in the lineup at least half the time.

But if they’d rather hang onto the boatload of prospects acquiring Robert would take, they still need some backup plan in center. The New York Mets’ Harrison Bader is a solid fallback option if his team decides to sell, or alternatively, if Colton Cowser can play more center, a veteran corner outfielder like Tommy Pham could also be a fit.