Tap-In Question: If O's sell, should they target best pitching available or best overall package? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Connolly's Tap Room

Tap-In Question: If O’s sell, should they target best pitching available or best overall package?

Let’s get a little philosophical in the Tap Room today as we wait to figure out what club Executive Vice President Dan Duquette is going to do with these Orioles by next Monday’s nonwaiver trade deadline.

I’d still imagine they are sellers, but to what extent is the real question.

For a moment, let’s assume the Orioles are gonna trade a major commodity, such as closer Zach Britton, setup man Brad Brach or even third baseman Manny Machado. In writing about those hypotheticals, I mentioned the Orioles would need a pitching-heavy package of prospects.

Some readers bristled at the idea of that specific of a return. Their argument is that if the Orioles were to trade away a Britton or a Machado, they’d have to get the best package available, regardless of position. You always want the best talent, even if it isn’t rotation bound.

And this is where our philosophical discussion begins. Because we aren’t talking names, and even if we were, we’d only be talking about reputation, since none of us have seen any of the “prospects,” that have been mentioned in organizations such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Washington Nationals and others.

So, I want to know if you think the top prospects in any “sell” deal have to be starting pitcher candidates.

I say yes.

Normally, I’m all for getting the highest-ceiling talent, regardless of position, like in the amateur draft (or in the international market, if the Orioles were ever a part of that).

But this is different. The primary reason these Orioles may be selling is because their rotation isn’t strong enough for a long postseason run. That rotation only has two starters, Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy, signed next year (Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez are free agents and Wade Miley basically is; he has a team option for $12 million that comes with a $500,000 buyout).

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And, as we know, there is no one from the Triple-A rotation pounding down the big league door. Meanwhile, there are some position players – catcher Chance Sisco, infielder Ryan Mountcastle and outfielders Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays – who may have a legitimate shot of helping the Orioles at some point in 2018.

That’s why I think the Orioles need to get the best pitching prospect or two available in a trade – my thought is one that is on the cusp now and another that’s higher-ceiling but a year or two away — and fill in the rest of the package after that. It may sound crazy, but give me two Top 100 pitching prospects instead of one Top 20 outfielder (or whatever position).

The need now is too great to simply go for best total prospects available and deal with how they fit later. But I know some of you feel otherwise. So how about we all chew on this one along with some stale pretzels at the bar.

Tap-In Question: If the Orioles are selling, do they go for best overall prospect package or must it be starting pitcher heavy?

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