Orioles Trade Scenarios: 2 Potential Deals That Just Make Sense
The Baltimore Orioles are not only one of the most dangerous hitting teams in baseball, but they're also the best defensive squad in the game.
So, despite the fact that many of their best players are still quite young, the O's are clearly in win-now mode.
Understanding that championship windows like this don't last forever, Baltimore's front office must look to make a trade that nets a player who will make this team better in 2014—even if it must sacrifice future success (in the form of prized prospects) to do so.
The Orioles are one or two players away from being legitimate championship contenders, and with the MLB trade deadline two months away, now is the perfect time to begin thinking about some options.
The following two trade proposals make sense for two reasons. First, they make the 2014 Baltimore Orioles better. Second, there is a legitimate chance of the trades occurring.
Let's take a look.
LHP Eduardo Rodriguez for DH Adam Dunn
Orioles trade LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, OF Henry Urrutia and 1B Christian Walker.
White Sox trade DH Adam Dunn and OF Trayce Thompson.
Why It Makes Sense
Coming into the season, David Lough and Nolan Reimold were expected to platoon in left field with Nelson Cruz serving as the O's full-time designated hitter.
However, almost two months into the season, Reimold has yet to join the team due to injury, and Lough has struggled at the plate (.163 batting average).
As a result, Cruz has appeared in more games as the starting left fielder than as the designated hitter.
So why not keep him there permanently and pick up Adam Dunn?
Adding another power bat to this lineup would make Baltimore even more dangerous in the ultracompetitive AL East, and perhaps more importantly, it would give the O's some stability.
Plus, for a team that has drawn the fewest walks in baseball, trading for Dunn, who ranks third in the American League with 35 free passes, makes sense.
The prospects the Orioles would lose in this scenario have bright futures but are also expendable.
Eduardo Rodriguez is one of the organization's top pitching prospects, but with Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Hunter Harvey waiting in the wings, Baltimore can afford to give up one of them.
Christian Walker is another nice prospect, but assuming the O's want to keep Chris Davis around for years to come, Walker doesn't really have a place in the organization.
And Henry Urrutia, who performed quite well in the big leagues during a limited stint toward the end of the 2013 season, simply won't have too many opportunities in Baltimore's crowded outfield.
The White Sox have a much greater need for him, especially considering Alejandro De Aza's struggles this season (.175 batting average).
Why It Could Happen
Dunn is in the last year of his contract, so he's one of Chicago's top trade chips. And with only three pitchers in their top 10 prospects, the White Sox would love to land a young pitcher like Rodriguez.
The Orioles would probably rather trade for someone with more versatility, since Buck Showalter appreciates having guys he can plug into different spots.
However, as the trade deadline approaches, Dunn could offer the most value and, with a stable of young arms that would interest the White Sox, the Orioles just might be able to get him.
2B Jonathan Schoop for RHP Jeff Samardzija
Orioles trade 2B Jonathan Schoop and RHP Hunter Harvey.
Why It Makes Sense
Earlier this season, all signs were pointing to Chris Tillman becoming the ace of the Orioles pitching staff. However, after an extremely poor month of May from him, that no longer appears to be the case.
If the Orioles want to contend for a championship, they need a No. 1 starter who can go deep into games and strike hitters out consistently.
Enter Jeff Samardzija.
Not only is the 29-year-old second in Major League Baseball with a 1.68 ERA, he's also third in WAR, 15th in WHIP and 17th in strikeouts, per ESPN.
He'd immediately become Baltimore's ace, and a starting rotation consisting of Samardzija, Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez, Wei-Yin Chen and Bud Norris looks pretty darn good.
Losing Schoop would be a tough pill to swallow, but if Baltimore is serious about contending this season, the team will make this move.
Ryan Flaherty and Steve Lombardozzi should be able to fill the void left at second base, and while neither of them possesses the pop that Schoop does, they are both better fielders—Flaherty, especially.
Why It Could Happen
It's no secret that Samardzija could be had in a trade. The Cubs are years away from contending for a championship, and Samardzija's value has never been higher.
Plenty of teams will interested in landing him, but it's hard to imagine someone else offering greater value than a fairly proven MLB hitter in Schoop and a top-100 prospect in Harvey.