3 Prospects the Baltimore Orioles Should Consider Dealing at the Deadline
The Baltimore Orioles currently sit smack dab in the middle of the AL East standings in third place with a record of 28-27. There's been a number of factors that have come into play in causing the O's to underperform, but the most glaring issue with the team is its lack of quality starting pitching.
The team's unofficial "ace," Chris Tillman, has been a disappointment so far, flashing moments of brilliance in some starts but completely blowing up in others. He currently holds a 4.63 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP.
With the contracts of franchise players in Chris Davis and Matt Wieters coming off the books at the end of the 2015 season, the time to win is now for the O's. They'll need to deal some highly rated prospects in order to yield an ace-type pitcher in return that can be a game changer and can sustain the rotation.
Per CBS Chicago's Bruce Levine (h/t Tyler Drenon of MLBDailyDish.com), the Orioles are the "leading team of interest in the Jeff Samardzija sweepstakes."
Samardzija is currently 14th in ERA in the majors with a 2.54 ERA.
But in order to get a substantial return, you must first give up value and not just an assortment of broken parts for a player of Samardzija's caliber.
Here are three prospects that the Orioles should seriously consider dealing at the deadline or well beforehand.
Dylan Bundy, RHP
Dylan Bundy, who is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery, would be a long shot to be dealt, at least until he proves he is healthy and that the shoulder is holding up well.
According to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun, any team making Bundy the centerpiece of a deal would need to watch him for a while in the minors this year before signing off on him, and that won't come until June.
Still, it's hard to pass on Bundy's sheer talent, as he was once a No. 1 overall prospect in all of baseball back in 2012, according to rankings by Baseball America.
A future MLB ace and perennial All-Star is not out of the question yet for Bundy, but there's also the risk that he may not be the same pitcher that he was prior to his elbow injury, and that's just not a risk teams will be willing to take for the price he comes with.
Kevin Gausman, RHP
Kevin Gausman is another pitcher who the O's could give up in a package deal that yields Samardzija or another ace in return.
Unlike Bundy, Gausman has experienced a good amount of pitching in the majors, having started six games and making appearances in 21 totals games in the past two seasons. Although there hasn't been many positives to hit on other than his 2012 K/9 ratio of 9.3 in the majors and his overall numbers in the minors, the Orioles still think highly of the 23-year-old.
According to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun, the Orioles view Gausman as a player who will help them at the major league level this year and not just as a future prospect.
Gausman is a much more likely candidate to be traded at the deadline than a recovering Bundy, but not so much as the final prospect on this list.
Hunter Harvey, RHP
Even though Hunter Harvey is the organization's No. 4 prospect according to Baseball America, he may possibly be the most coveted player in a deadline deal for a team looking to rebuild, such as the Cubs.
The Cubs (20-34) aren't looking to go anywhere this year and are clearly building for the future. With a loaded farm system that includes six top 100 prospects according to MLB.com—Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Albert Almora, C.J. Edwards, Jorge Soler, Arismendy Alcantara—the club from Chicago's north side looks to build a solid core of players to start up a culture of consistent winning.
Harvey has been phenomenal and has dominated at each level in the minors thus far, compiling a 1.71 ERA and 0.987 WHIP in 18 career minor league starts.
According to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun, one of the Cubs' top talent evaluators was in Low-A Delmarva last weekend to watch a few games, including one started by Harvey, and the scout was one that was not normally assigned to the low-level minors—though it could've just been routine coverage.
If the Cubs were to acquire Harvey in a deal involving Jeff Samardzija, they could follow the recent trend of locking up young studs to club-friendly contracts to ensure that Harvey would be a Cub for the majority of his major league career.