Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Baltimore Orioles may be willing to trade top starting pitching prospect Dylan Bundy in an effort to snag a major upgrade by the trade deadline. The most obvious question that comes to mind is why. Well, that question happens to have a very obvious answer – which is simply, he’s the best trade chip they have short of Kevin Gausman.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
Before the season began Baseball America had Bundy ranked as the second best prospect in all of baseball and top pitching prospect overall. Even though Bundy’s season is done due to requiring Tommy John Surgery to repair he’s still ranked as the 14th best prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball Prospectus’ mid-season prospect rankings and 17th overall by Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. He was ranked fourth overall by Baseball Prospectus and second overall by Jonathan Mayo before the season, and his injury.
If the Orioles were to trade Bundy what kind of player could they, or should they, expect in return?
In an effort to give you any idea whatsoever of that we have to hop in our way back machine and review trades over the last five to ten years to see who was traded for top prospects. This isn’t an exact science by any means but it’s better than randomly shouting names of the best players that aren’t available.
Trade Date: 7/7/08
|Matt LaPorta (#23, 2008)|
The Milwaukee Brewers decided to go for it in 2008 and traded away Matt LaPorta, who was the 23rd best prospect in baseball that season, along with Michael Brantley and two other minor leaguers who weren’t of great importance to them for CC Sabathia.
As it stands, LaPorta has yet to really pan out in the big leagues and at 28 years old it certainly doesn’t seem like a major break-through is in the works. Brantley has turned out to be a pretty good outfielder with the Indians though and has steadily improved his game since making his major league debut in 2009.
How great of a comparison this is to what Bundy would bring back in a trade is tough to say as Bundy was the second best prospect overall before the season began and is still a top 20 prospect with a Tommy John Surgery under his belt.
Trade Date: 2/8/08
|ORIOLES||Adam Jones (#28, 2007)|
|Chris Tillman (#22, 2009)|
Mention the name of Erik Bedard to a crowded room full of Orioles fans and you’d likely be charged with murder as a few heads would explode in unbridled anger, for some reason. Bedard was one of the best pitchers available on the market leading into the 2008 season and the Orioles got a haul in exchange for him.
This trade is a perfect cautionary tale for those who scream and shout that organizations should never trade prospects. Bedard ended up pitching a total of 255.1 innings over three seasons with the Seattle Mariners, albeit high quality innings, but he only made a total of 46 starts in that time because he just couldn’t stay healthy.
The Orioles on the other hand have a franchise center fielder in Adam Jones, and also signed him to a long-term extension, and Chris Tillman has finally started to fulfill his potential as a solid starting pitcher.
Trade Date: 12/4/07
|MARLINS||Cameron Maybin (#6, 2007)|
|Andrew Miller (#10, 2007)|
|Frankie De La Cruz|
For the Orioles fans hoping that the organization could somehow trade Bundy to the Miami Marlins for premium slugging outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, you may want to shift your expectations just a bit. The Marlins traded the best pure hitter in the game today, Miguel Cabrera, to the Detroit Tigers for two top ten prospects and a handful of lower level prospects.
Granted, none of the guys the Tigers traded to the Marlins ended up turning to big-time players but it’s a good example of what it would likely take to pluck someone of Stanton’s caliber from them. The Orioles could put a package together with the centerpieces being Bundy, Jonathan Schoop, and Eduardo Rodriguez but that would essentially empty their farm system of any worthwhile talent other than Kevin Gausman.
Trade Date: 7/31/07
|RANGERS||Elvis Andrus (#19, 2008)|
|Matt Harrison (#90, 2007)|
|Neftali Feliz (#93, 2008)|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia (#36, 2007)|
This is the quintessential fleecing by one team of another at the trade deadline. The Atlanta Braves traded a top 20 prospect, a top 40 prospect, and two top 100 prospects for essentially two months of Mark Teixeira. Each of the players the Rangers received turned into very useful pieces for them in some form or fashion.
The Braves ultimately traded Teixeira for none other than Casey Kotchman when they weren’t able to secure a long-term deal with him and didn’t reach the heights that they were hoping for when they acquired him.
As you can see, it’s not often that top prospects are traded away for players that are truly considered difference makers and when they are its fairly split between teams who got the most out of the prospects they received and the established players the other team received.
With the July 31 trade deadline less than 48 hours away there are at least thirteen teams that are, or should be selling pieces off, and would be reasonably interested in Bundy depending on what the Orioles would want in return for him.
If the Orioles are looking to bolster their starting rotation than the teams that would make the most sense to make a deal with are the Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox, and Chicago Cubs. Each of those teams have quality pitching that they could deal while still being pretty well set for the future based on their depth and acquiring Bundy.
The Mariners have starters such as Hisashi Iwakuma and youngster Brandon Maurer that would be appealing to the Orioles, the White Sox have Jake Peavy, Jose Quintana, John Danks, and even Gavin Floyd who all have value, and then the Chicago Cubs are in a position to deal Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, or even Travis Wood if they are blown away.
If, instead, the Orioles are looking to pick up an impact bat then they’re likely to reach out to the Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, San Diego Padres, and even the Toronto Blue Jays if they’re comfortable dealing Bundy within the division.
The Marlins, of course, have Stanton that the Orioles could empty their farm system for. The Twins may be open to trading away catcher Joe Mauer, and the contract that he comes with, for a quality return. The Padres say they’re not taking calls on third baseman Chase Headley but he’s starting to hit again and the Padres have been looking for a true top prospect in exchange for him. Then of course there are the Blue Jays who have sluggers such as Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and then some more complimentary bats such as Colby Rasmus and Adam Lind.
Whatever the Orioles do, if they even do anything at all, they will be hard pressed to add an impact bat and arm in the same deal.