Break the Orioles’ calendar up however you want — two months in, a third of the way in. This most recent — and increasingly rare — day off for the Orioles marked the halfway point of games played until the July 30 trade deadline, giving Mike Elias and the rest of the front office half of the sample size they’ll use to determine the appropriate course of action for their last, best chance to supplement the roster before the playoffs.

So far? They probably love what they’re seeing: a lineup that has produced and still has some inherent upside with swing decision improvement and the settling of their outfield conundrum; a rotation that has weathered all kinds of health scares and still remains one of the game’s strongest; and, well, a bullpen that might need some addressing.

Overall, a really good team. Given how many great or potentially great players they boast — Gunnar Henderson, Adley Rutschman, Corbin Burnes, Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez, for starters — the group seems destined for October and poised to improve on last year’s four-day disappointment as it stands.

As ever, how much is done at the July trade deadline to supplement that is going to be up for debate until the moment transactions freeze on the evening of July 30. All we have to guide us is what we already know for sure — and a few variables have changed since last time around.

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Most notable is the new ownership, led by David Rubenstein. The group has vowed to let the Orioles front office — which it views as the best in baseball — continue to operate as Elias and his team see fit. We haven’t yet learned explicitly whether Elias and company have or will change their operating model based on the expectation of far more money coming available for the baseball operations department. Closest we have is Elias, in discussing the Burnes trade, noting that they still take a holistic view of the organization’s long-term health in everything they do, but allow for more of a near-term focus at times given the team’s potential to win meaningful things now.

There were also incremental signs of that at last year’s trade deadline, though Elias was left to lament after the playoff sweep to the eventual World Series champion Texas Rangers (who were far more aggressive at the deadline) the overall lack of playoff impact from the acquisitions of Shintaro Fujinami and Jack Flaherty.

His goal, he said by way of an explanation, was to help the Orioles win the division — and they did. In doing so, and still getting swept by a wild-card team in the first round of the playoffs, everyone was reminded just how fickle baseball’s playoffs can be after a six-month season just to get in. There’s a universe where that lesson will lead the Orioles to simply ride out this group and supplement around the edges again, because if they’re the ones swinging the hot bats and whose pitchers turn it up a notch in October, the roster as-is is plenty good enough to win a series or two.

The flip-side would be those laments fueling a more aggressive approach this time around. Doing so on the pitching side — where adding players would make the most sense — would bring the Orioles into the most expensive corner of the market and, as such, significantly test their belief structures.

From a sheer value perspective, it’s hard to envision many trades for high-leverage relievers, rentals or not, that would not feature the Orioles giving up significantly more overall value than they’d get based on long-term projections for the players going out. I bet the prospect of Cade Povich and Chayce McDermott — two players acquired when they traded away Jorge Lopez and Trey Mancini at the 2022 deadline — helping their rotation this year is all the reminder they need that taking the long, broad view can often lead to gaining more value over time.

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Expanded time horizons are a lot harder to sell with a team this good, though, and that’s especially the case when the late innings are no longer comfortable times for manager Brandon Hyde and anyone watching the team once that bullpen door swings open.

My own personal view on the turbulent season of Craig Kimbrel, and to an extent the bullpen as a whole, is that both he and the group are likely going to look exactly as good as they were expected to be at season’s end with a full six months to evaluate, but there will be some volatility and tough nights on the way. That long view might get a team to the playoffs just fine, but it’s a recipe for trouble in October. The more bat-missers the Orioles can get in the bullpen, the better, whether they do it internally or externally.

And if they have to stretch a bit in a trade to bring in one or two, now might be the time to do it. They’ve always had the prospect talent to make pretty much any trade they’ve wanted in the last couple years. Elias has said so himself. There might just be more urgency to this year, because the alternative might be to lose some of these prospects for nothing.

To prevent teams from hoarding talent, after three full seasons for college draftees and four full seasons for players signed as teens, MLB clubs must add a player to the 40-man roster or risk losing them to another club that’s willing to pick him in the December Rule 5 draft. They have four clear-cut pending additions to the 40-man roster this offseason ahead of the Rule 5 draft — Coby Mayo, Connor Norby, Povich and McDermott — but many more fascinating players eligible.

Many of them are pitchers: Justin Armbruester, Brandon Young, Kyle Brnovich, Trey McGough, Keagan Gillies, Moisés Chace, Edgar Portes, Juan Nuñez and Carter Baumler among them.

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This is relevant here because long-term roster management and getting value out of players who may not have a future here but do elsewhere have been two defining motivations for who the Orioles have been willing to include in trades since they started being buyers. Sending Darell Hernaiz to Oakland ahead of his Rule 5 year to bring in Cole Irvin was the start of that. César Prieto and Drew Rom didn’t have clear paths to Baltimore, while DL Hall and Joey Ortiz were worth more elsewhere.

Take that group of Rule 5 eligible players, add in Kyle Stowers and Heston Kjerstad as players who may end up being more valuable to another club given their roles with the Orioles, and there’s a group of players that could swing plenty of deals to help this current team. And that’s without mentioning any of the Double-A outfielders whose pathways to the majors seem heavily obstructed (Dylan Beavers and Jud Fabian) or any of the dozens of pitchers from the last few drafts whose stuff and results will screen equally impressive to analysts and scouts.

It’s a good place to be in. The Orioles certainly know that, and will be hoping to use their stock of minors talent to supplement many great teams, not just this one. This team is going to need supplementing, though. As good as they are, and as well as they’ve played considering the circumstances, to not do so would be a pill many wouldn’t even try to swallow. Every game until that July 30 deadline will add more evidence to the internal case for or against, and considering they’re already halfway there, those conversations had better be underway.

Jon Meoli is the Baltimore Banner's Orioles columnist and head women's ice hockey coach at Loyola University Maryland.

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