Should the Baltimore Orioles Make a Trade?


With the World Series approaching and 2015 MLB season almost coming to a close, many teams are gearing up for the offseason. The Baltimore Orioles have already started off their offseason with re-signing Wayne Kirby and acquiring pitcher Vance Worley through waivers. However the question still remains, will they make a good trade this offseason?

The Orioles have a couple of prospects that could be dealt this offseason for a key player on the major league roster. Because of their heavy need on the pitching staff due to the pending loss of free agent Wei-Yin Chen, the Orioles top priority should be a starting pitcher.

One trade candidate that pops up for the Orioles are the Los Angeles Dodgers. They have three left-handed starters who should pique the Orioles’ interest. Alex WoodHyun-Jin Ryu, and Brett Anderson are players that the Orioles could acquire without having to spend an astronomical amount during the offseason.

Oct 6, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (99) pitches during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in game three of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Ryu, who is coming off shoulder surgery, could be relatively easy for the Orioles to acquire. He has pitched to a 3.17 ERA during his Major League career. However, with his injury, how much could he actually contribute towards the Orioles starting staff in 2016?

According to Baseball Reference, Ryu’s projected numbers are a 3.48 ERA, 6-4 record, and a 1.227 WHIP. For a player coming off shoulder surgery, those are very respectable numbers. He may not be able to contribute at the beginning of the season, but he has the capability to contribute down the stretch for the Orioles.

October 2, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood (57) pitches the second inning against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Wood is only 24 years old, but during his young career, he has been a solid pitcher. Through his 3 years in the Majors, he has pitched to a 3.30 ERA. He didn’t have a good 2015 season, posting a 5-6 record and a 4.35 ERA. With his past numbers being so solid however, he is projected to have a stronger 2016 season. According to Baseball Reference, his projected numbers are a 3.51 ERA, a 10-10 record, and a 1.256 WHIP.

Anderson has pitched to a 3.72 ERA during his 7 year career. He had a solid 2015 campaign, putting up a 3.69 ERA and a 10-9 record. Next season he is projected to have a 3.81 ERA, an 8-8 record, and a 1.331 WHIP.

Out of the three, Wood would probably make the most sense for the Orioles to acquire. He will not become a free agent until 2020. Also, he isn’t arbitration eligible until 2017. This gives the Orioles a young left-hander who has had success as a Major League starter.

There is one more starter that the Orioles should go after: Jose Quintana. Next season, Quintana will be 27 and he has pitched very solidly for the White Sox (3.46 ERA during his 4-year career). Also, Quintana has seen his ERA constantly get lower, except for last year in 2015. However, his ERA was still 3.36. His similar production to Chen would give the Orioles another option in the trade market.

The Orioles also need another outfielder. They have used a litany of outfielders in the 2015 season. If they sure up their corner outfield positions by re-signing Gerardo Parra and trading for another corner outfielder, they could make another push towards the playoffs.

Oct 3, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) flips his bat after flying out in the seventh inning of the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Again, the Dodgers could become a trade partner for the Orioles. Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig. Ethier is the same quiet leader type the Orioles had in Nick Markakis. In 2015, Ethier has batted .294, hit 53 RBI with 14 RBIs. Ethier is 33 years old. However, his age has not hindered his play in 2015. He also could be the player who can solidify the clubhouse along with Adam Jones.

In the case of Puig, he could use Jones’ leadership to his advantage. Puig is in need of a person who will be willing to make him work hard. Being around Jones could propel Puig to get into the gym and lose the weight to become the electrifying player that he was in 2013 and 2014. Last season Puig only batted .255, hit 38 RBI, and had only 11 HRs. Puig can be a great player, he may just need a change of scenery and Camden Yards may just do the trick.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post had these thoughts on the Puig saga:

"The new heads of baseball ops did not trade Puig last offseason, They saw from a distance what they believed was immense, not fully tapped talent and did not want to potentially make a rash, regrettable deal based on what a previous administration thought about the outfielder. They wanted to see if a more unified, behind-the-scenes approach to handling Puig’s behavioral issues could bring the best out of him as a player and teammate.Even on better behavior in 2015, Puig often remained outside the Dodgers mainstream. The bigger problem is that he lost value, both to the Dodgers and within the industry. In an elimination game Thursday, Puig never even made it to the on-deck circle. He started one of five division series games. He dealt with injury this season and finished with 11 homers and a .758 OPS.He is signed reasonably from 2016-18 for $19.5 million, so teams will have interest. But what can be expected in return has shriveled. Beyond attitude concerns, other teams also see what worries the Dodgers — that Puig is thickening, which is not only a potential catalyst for further injury, but could slowly erode the quick-twitch explosiveness in his bat and running that made Puig seem such a star in the making just 12-to-24 months ago.Mattingly’s dismissive answers about Puig strongly hinted at what he thinks about the outfielder. The Dodgers probably would love to move Puig, Carl Crawford (two years left at $41.75 million) and Andre Ethier (two years at $38 million). First of all, good luck, but also teamed with the removal of Kemp, it would mean this front office had rid itself of all the salaried outfielders it inherited and, among other things, would now need to reconstruct a new outfield for 2016, as well."

This could give the Orioles the incentive to go get Puig and “fix” him. As for the Orioles prospects that they must trade to make these deals happen, it all starts with them being willing to part ways with either Hunter Harvey or Dylan Bundy. Trey Mancini may also be on this list because of his impressive batting during his minor league career. Trading Mancini will be dependent on if the Orioles can re-sign Chris Davis.

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Mar 16, 2015; Clearwater, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Dylan Bundy (49) throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles should keep in mind that Harvey’s and Bundy’s values have probably dropped a considerable amount after injuries to the both of them. Also, Bundy has run out of options for this upcoming season. This could also bring down his trade value.

Bundy, 22, pitched in just eight games in 2015; he was 0-3 with a 3.68 ERA at Double-A Bowie. He was later diagnosed by Dr. James Andrews with a calcification buildup in his throwing shoulder.

Harvey (elbow) is scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews on Oct. 5, Eduardo Encina of The Baltimore Sun reports.

With these injuries to their top prospects, this leaves the Orioles in a pickle. They will need to make a move to increase their chances of a playoff run and this leaves Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter with a lot of work to be done this offseason.

Next: Zach Britton and Bullpen Awards for 2015