Welcome back to our emerging annual tradition: Should the Orioles go all in with a trade or not?

With injuries to the pitching staff mounting — Kyle Bradish is done for this year (and probably next), while Danny Coulombe will return in September at the earliest — it might make some folks who were raring for the Orioles to go all in on a World Series this year start feeling a little gun-shy.

Should they pull back? Keep their assets in reserve? See if there’s an offseason move or a trade next year that puts them in position to raise their first banner since 1983?

That kind of thinking is an illusion. The reality is the Orioles have already committed a significant stash of chips to the pot. They did it in February, and they’re in too deep to turn back now.

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We aren’t quite halfway through the season but very nearly there, and the only American League team better than the Orioles (48-25) is the Yankees (51-25) — Baltimore entered Thursday’s game with the chance to pull off a series win against its rival twice in as many meetings. The Orioles have been remarkable, and they’ve been their best against division competition, rattling off 21 straight series against the AL East and winning or tying each one (a historic feat, as The Athletic’s Jayson Stark pointed out this week).

It’s not a matter of deciding what to do, because everyone knows what needs to happen. If they want a chance at keeping up this feverish pace of winning, the Orioles need to tap into their overstocked farm system and take swings at starters and relievers who will help get them to October. We went through this dance last year, and the year before. Frankly, they need to make trades now that help them get to October 2025, too, because Bradish, John Means and Tyler Wells don’t look like 2025 options at the moment.

The question, as ever, is if making win-now trades is responsible management of the Orioles’ war chest. Baltimore’s analytics-driven approach gives it a projection of the future value of the players it is trading, and that’s why it has been reluctant to part with talented guys under team control — Connor Norby, Coby Mayo, Heston Kjerstad, Kyle Stowers — even if some of these pieces seem redundant with players already producing in the majors.

It’s painful, in the eyes of the front office, to give up future stars for potential rentals. The Joey Ortiz-for-Corbin Burnes swap has already come under some scrutiny for this aspect (though I’ve thrown my explicit support behind that decision). General manager Mike Elias has said over and over that he’s not responsible just for managing one season but the entire contention window, and the Orioles figure to have three or four seasons at least of being near the top of the league.

But it’s worth reframing the discussion. When the Orioles traded for Burnes, that was the move that put their money on 2024 as a World Series year. We’re halfway through crossing this channel — the injuries are not enough deterrent to turn around and paddle back to our starting shore.

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You make trades to replace the players you’re missing, of course, but the reason you make those trades is the players who are still healthy. The Orioles still have some impressive cards in their hand.

This lineup is mashing home runs at a torrid pace (an MLB-leading 116). Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman are All-Star shoo-ins. Ryan Mountcastle, Ryan O’Hearn and Jordan Westburg have all been thoroughly dependable. Even slow-starting vets Anthony Santander (who has been a better power hitter in June?) and Austin Hays are turning around slumps.

Then there’s Burnes, who has been as good as the Orioles could have dreamed. It’s not clear Baltimore will be able to re-sign one of Scott Boras’ star clients for 2025 and beyond if he commands top-of-market-level money. In that case, you’d better make this year — and what you gave up for Burnes — count. Showing a commitment to winning, even if it costs you, might be a significant factor in bringing back Burnes, or adding free agents like him in the future.

There’s no two ways about it. The injuries stink for the Orioles, who are now worse off. After Albert Suárez looked shaky Tuesday against the Yankees, you wonder how much stamina Cole Irvin and Cade Povich, who have been punching above their weight, have left. Cionel Pérez and Yennier Cano had slips out of the bullpen Wednesday, as well.

Grayson Rodriguez has taken a step forward, and Dean Kremer could be back soon, but you wouldn’t feel totally confident that the pitching staff, as it is now, could win a best-of-five postseason series.

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But it’s not time to pull back — not by a long shot. The Orioles started this season with a charge, flipping key assets to secure one of the game’s best aces, and it got them out to an incredible start.

It might cost them more than they want to keep it going, but given the sunk cost, there’s no sense in sounding the retreat. Not when they’ve come this far already.