Last week’s trade between the Cubs and Athletics, which sent pitchers Jeff Samardziga and Jason Hammel to Oakland for a prospect package that includes top-10 prospect Addison Russell, kicked off the MLB trade season in spectacular fashion. This week, we’ll go through the Orioles system level by level and highlight players of value who could have new homes by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline if the Orioles want to make a move.
Take a look at the Triple-A Norfolk roster and you’ll likely be struck — quite frequently — by how familiar the names sound. The roster is littered with former major leaguers like Brett Wallace and Quintin Berry, which indicates there isn’t a ton of trade depth to entice other teams to part with big league contributors for.
Just three position players on the active roster have rookie eligibility remaining — catchers Zack Booker and Brian Ward, and infielder Buck Britton. Britton has earned praise in recent spring trainings, but the catchers are organizational depth at best.
Outfielder Henry Urrutia still has rookie eligibility remaining, but is on the disabled list. Still, he has the most trade value of the bunch.
The 27-year-old Cuban outfielder raked last year in Double-A and Triple-A, and held his own in 24 games with the Orioles last year. But this year, Urrutia has battled a sports hernia and made his first rehab appearance on Saturday in the Gulf Coast League. Urrutia wouldn’t be the top piece of a deal, but he should be able to hit in the major leagues with regular opportunities and could be a cheap option for any team going forward.
Even if you remove the, in my opinion, untradeable Kevin Gausman from the convesation, there are still young pitchers on the staff in Norfolk. But many of them were signed as minor league free agents, meaning the team that nurtured them this far didn’t have a spot for them and every other team in the league could have had them if they wanted them badly enough.
The most enticing option as a trade chip from the Norfolk pitching staff is also injured and, like Urrutia, made his first rehab appearance Saturday in Sarasota: Steve Johnson. Johnson is on his way back from a shoulder injury, and was better in 2012 for the Orioles than he was last year, but he too could be a minor piece in a larger deal if a team is looking for a major-league ready arm.
Another interesting candidate for a trade could be Tyler Wilson, who was promoted to Norfolk last week and allowed a run on eight hits in six innings Thursday in his Triple-A debut. Wilson was 10-5 with a 3.72 ERA in 16 starts for Double-A Bowie, and while he doesn’t have an overpowering fastball, Wilson uses a three-pitch mix to good effect.
Lastly, right-hander Mike Wright has also made a name for himself in the last few years. A consensus top-10 prospect in the system, Wright can command a low-90s fastball and two secondary pitches with a back of the rotation starter or seventh-inning reliever ceiling.
We’ll have Bowie’s trade chips coming up tomorrow, but don’t fret if this isn’t encouraging. Teams typically trade for high-ceiling young talent, or major league-ready talent, and the Orioles don’t have much in Triple-A. The lower minors is where the fruit is if the Orioles want to make a deal. It’s clearly not in Norfolk.
This story has been updated to include Mike Wright, who was previously omitted.
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