Baltimore has already traded two of its top players in shortstop Manny Machado and left-handed closer Zach Britton. The Orioles could also deal several more veterans before the non-waiver trade deadline.
The Rays are also sellers and dealt Nathan Eovaldi to the Red Sox for left-hander Jalen Beeks. Tampa Bay also is interested in making more moves that could strengthen the long-term outlook of the franchise.
While the Rays have been mostly competitive all season and just took two of three games from the New York Yankees, the Orioles are on pace to have one of the worst seasons in franchise history. Baltimore has lost 13 of 18 and has its sights set on developing players that can help make a push for the postseason in the coming years.
"We decided with the Manny trade we were going to set off in a different direction so we could be competitive with these super teams in the American League East," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. "We are going to look at all the options. That means we have to look at all the options with the veteran players."
The Rays received a solid pitcher in Beeks, who went 5-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 117 strikeouts for Triple-A Pawtucket. He was named Boston's minor league pitcher of the year in 2017. Beeks already had two major league stints with the Red Sox and could join the Rays in Baltimore this weekend.
Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash expects more deals in the coming weeks. However, he does not expect the players to be distracted by the potential trades.
"I think our job is when we come to the ballpark we talk and focus about winning the game that night," Cash said. "And if we get away from that, then we're not focusing on the things we need to focus. The people that want to talk about it, they're entitled to do that. We're sensitive to all players, and what they go through, their families, their livelihood, all those things.
Hunter Wood (0-0, 2.93 ERA) will make third start of the season in the opener in Baltimore. He has been effective since being recalled from Triple-A Durham earlier this month. Wood is making his first career appearance against the Orioles.
The Orioles will counter with the struggling Alex Cobb (2-13, 6.17 ERA). He has lost his past six decisions. In his last outing, Cobb took a hard-luck loss after allowing four runs (one earned) with four strikeouts over five innings against the Blue Jays.
"I know that there's a lot of discussions about wins and losses and how they don't matter," Cobb said after the game. "But I worked really hard my whole career to try and have a real nice-looking record because whether you're a casual fan or real in-depth into the numbers, the first thing you see on the back of your (baseball) cards is your win-loss. I've always taken pride in that in my whole career. I think I've always had a winning record. It sucks."
Cobb lost to the Rays twice this season in his only career starts against his former team.
With Britton gone, Orioles manager Buck Showalter has not decided on who will be the new closer. Brad Brach leads the team with 11 saves.
"It wasn't something that we aren't experienced at because we've operated a lot of this season without Zach," Showalter said. "I've got some ideas, some thoughts on it, things that I think I'd like to have us accomplish as an organization so we can make good decisions as we go forward. I've got a couple thoughts. Some of them might be unconventional. We'll see."