The Orioles have already traded for two pitchers this month, but they believe they may need more to keep up with the Rays and Red Sox in the AL East.
Orioles people have been asking around about starting pitchers, with Jason Vargas of the Angels one interesting possibility. Vargas has been on the disabled list since June because of a blood clot in his left armpit, but the reports on his rehab have been encouraging and he could be ready to pitch in the major leagues sometime in August.
The Orioles have regularly been mentioned as a possible destination for Bud Norris of the Astros, and Orioles people have asked around about him, sources say. But as of midday Tuesday, the Orioles had not made any offer to the Astros.
Vargas, who was traded from the Mariners to the Angels last winter (for Kendrys Morales), was 6-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 14 starts before he got hurt. He's eligible for free agency at the end of the season, so he would figure to be affordable.
Orioles pitchers have combined for a 4.32 team ERA that ranks 28th in baseball. The Orioles have already traded for Scott Feldman and Francisco Rodriguez this month, but their deficit in the AL East has grown to five games, and their lead for the second wild-card spot has shrunk to half a game over the Indians.
Norris was scheduled to pitch against the Orioles Tuesday night in Baltimore, but the Astros announced Tuesday afternoon that Lucas Harrell would start instead. While no trade was close at the time, sources said, the Astros wanted to keep all options open.