We had a pretty spirited conversation on the site Thursday about what the Orioles need to do in order to improve their pitching for 2018.
It was spirited enough that I want to carry it into the Tap Room this weekend.
It’s my belief that the best way – maybe the only way — for the Orioles to improve their rotation next year is to trade for a starting pitcher or two, since the free agent market for starters this winter is fairly shallow and, likely, expensive.
The problem, of course, is what do the Orioles have to trade that could bring the such a return. And if the answer isn’t Manny Machado – for those of you who can’t stomach the idea of a rebuild – then I’d suggest it is Brad Brach or Zach Britton. All three are free agents after 2018.
As painful as it might be to weaken the bullpen, Brach or Britton should at least fetch a couple young arms with the upside to help a rotation. No guarantees, of course, but that’s how it would be with dealing Machado, too (though the pedigree of return would be higher in any deal for the third baseman).
That discussion got me thinking.
Is there any player with the Orioles that I wouldn’t trade away this winter in a reasonable deal for starting pitching?
I think my answer is no.
Some may say second baseman Jonathan Schoop; he was the 2017 Most Valuable Oriole, turns 26 later this month and is under team control through 2019. But he made $3.5 million last year and will get a hefty raise this winter in arbitration.
So, he’s not cheap, and may not be a part of the extended future. I likely wouldn’t deal him, but I certainly would be open to an overwhelming offer.
Rookies such as Trey Mancini, Chance Sisco and Austin Hays are all intriguing, and all could be building blocks. But, again, my ears wouldn’t be closed about dealing any of them.
If there is one guy that is close to untouchable for me it’s right-hander Dylan Bundy. Simply because of his age (25 in November), team control (can’t be a free agent until after the 2021 season) and the dearth of quality big league starters currently on the Orioles’ 40-man roster.
In other words, for me to deal Bundy it would have to be for a young pitcher (or multiple ones) with even more team control and similar upside. And that just doesn’t seem likely.
But I’d never say never.
So, if push comes to seriously hard shove, I suppose, for me, no one on this Orioles’ roster is untouchable in a trade. How about for you?
Tap-In Question: Is there any current Oriole you absolutely wouldn’t trade for rotation help?