The Orioles still hope to add another hitter this offseason, and they have discussed acquiring first baseman Ike Davis from the New York Mets, according to an industry source.
Those talks, however, apparently hit a roadblock because the Mets were asking for left-handed pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez in a potential deal.
While the 20-year-old pitcher is not untouchable, the Orioles would need a to be blown away by a deal in order to consider trading Rodriguez, who made significant strides this past season. He came to his first major league camp with some raw skills but has become more polished and had success at two levels -- he was 10-7 with a 3.41 ERA at Class-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie -- as well as the Arizona Fall League in 2013.
The Orioles see their No. 3 prospect as a big part of the future. It has been said often that the key to the franchise's success will be developing its pitching, and it's safe to say Rodriguez is a part of that.
Having said that, if the Orioles hope to acquire an impact player by trade – I’m not saying Davis, who had a major dip in production in 2013, falls under that category – it likely means unloading prospects, particularly pitchers.
The Orioles’ top four prospects, according to Baseball America, are all pitchers – right-hander Dylan Bundy, right-hander Kevin Gausman, Rodriguez and right-hander Hunter Harvey – and they don’t look to be going anywhere unless the Orioles are overwhelmed by a deal. After being drafted this year, Harvey couldn’t be traded anyway.
Seeing the money being spent on signing free-agent pitchers – like the three-year, $30 million deal that former Orioles right-hander Scott Feldman received from the Houston Astros – these young pitchers could be more valuable than ever, both to the Orioles and on the trade market.
That takes you to right-hander Mike Wright, the organization's No. 8 prospect. But the club would like to see what he does at the next level after pitching well at Double-A last season. Left-hander Tim Berry was just added to the 40-man roster, but he might be the fastest riser in the organization as the club's No. 6 prospect.
The Orioles have recently shown that they're not afraid to deal prospects to improve the club.
Last year, the Orioles dipped into the farm system to make in-season trades, dealing infielder Nick Delmonico, outfielder L.J. Hoes, left-hander Josh Hader and outfielder Xavier Avery to acquire the combination of Francisco Rodriguez, Bud Norris and Michael Morse. Only Norris remains on the Orioles’ current roster.
The team hesitantly dealt Hader, a local product with tremendous upside, to Houston in July in order to acquire Norris. There's belief that unloading the 19-year-old pitcher could eventually come back to hurt them.
Combine that with the fact that the organization's pool of second-tier prospects is now diluted, and the Orioles could be much more hesitant to make a trade involving any one of their pitching prospects this offseason.