Ranking the Baltimore Orioles' Best Minor League Trade Chips
With the 2014 MLB All-Star Game now in the rearview mirror, the summer trade market is about to heat up.
The trade deadline is in just a couple of weeks, and it'll be here before we know it. With the focus on the stretch run beginning on August 1 and running through the regular season, teams will be looking to add talent before then in hopes that it'll propel them to the playoffs.
Currently holding a four-game lead atop the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles are one of the teams that will be looking to make additions to their roster this summer. They likely won't be looking to make any flashy trades, instead aiming for a complementary piece or two.
Of course, it takes giving up talent to acquire talent, and typically when teams acquire proven talent, their trade partner wants young talent in return.
The O's don't have a loaded farm system, but they do have some pitching depth that they could give up in the right trade. Let's take a look at how those young arms rank for the club.
Mike Wright, SP
Righty Mike Wright won the equivalent of the Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the O's organization in 2013.
And in 2014, Wright has struggled beyond belief.
After posting an ERA of 3.11 in 26 Double-A starts and one Triple-A start last season, Wright has had trouble adjusting to Triple-A full-time this year, putting up an atrocious 6.15 ERA in 18 starts.
So why would any team be interested in acquiring Wright? Obviously, Wright would not be the centerpiece in a potential blockbuster (such as acquiring the Tampa Bay Rays' David Price), but his past success could be appealing in the right trade, such as in a deal for a bullpen arm.
Of all the O's minor league trade options, I would consider Wright one of the most likely to move simply because he's more expendable than the other guys, and the O's probably aren't looking to make a blockbuster trade, anyway.
Eduardo Rodriguez, SP
On this list, Eduardo Rodriguez ranks in front of Wright in terms of trade value. Rodriguez has more raw potential and is also the younger pitcher (21 years old to Wright's 24).
However, Rodriguez is similar in that he's struggling this season after having success in prior years.
His ERA of 4.81 is nowhere near as bad as Wright's this season, but it's certainly up from his mark of 3.41 in 2013. And when breaking it down, Rodriguez generally has good starts this season and has simply had the misfortune of a couple of bad outings ballooning his ERA. A DL stint earlier in the season didn't help, either.
The O's like this kid's arm. They won't give him up in a trade for cheap. But it wouldn't be a shock to see him move this summer, either.
Tim Berry, SP
Tim Berry is an interesting case.
On the one hand, the lefty has never really been a big-name prospect. On the other hand, he's been putting up some very nice numbers this season.
Berry struggled early on in his professional career, putting up an ERA of 5.17 in 2011 and 5.04 in 2012. But last season, his 3.85 ERA was a big improvement, and he currently has an ERA of 3.89 at the Double-A level.
The 23-year-old has walked just 34 batters in 104 innings pitched this year, and though his stuff isn't overwhelming (91 K's), pinpoint location and solid movement keep him in the game and runners from making it all the way around the bases.
In a smaller complementary trade, such as for a bullpen piece, Berry makes a ton of sense. The O's won't be sacrificing a top-tier prospect, and Berry is a quality return for the Orioles' trade partner.
Dylan Bundy, SP
Even after having Tommy John surgery last year, Dylan Bundy is still one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball.
Bundy is currently rehabbing from the surgery and has experienced highs and lows. In three starts for the Aberdeen Ironbirds, Bundy pitched 15 innings and allowed 10 hits, one run, and struck out 22 batters.
However, in two starts for the Frederick Keys, the right-hander hasn't fared as well. In two starts, he sports a 7.04 ERA in 7.2 innings, with four walks and just five K's.
These last two starts are likely just a small bump in the road for Bundy, and he'll be back on track soon enough.
Realistically, the O's won't be trading Bundy this season and plan to hang on to the young pitcher for years to come. Bundy has front-of-the-rotation stuff, and the O's won't be dealing him unless the deal is absolutely perfect for them.
Bundy is the best trade chip that the O's currently have in the minors, but he won't be going anywhere.