The Baltimore Orioles lost one of their potential trade targets this week in pitcher Jeff Samardzija. The Chicago Cubs sent Samardzija and fellow starter Jason Hammel to the Oakland A’s, leaving the Orioles out of luck on acquiring the right-hander.
Luckily for the O’s, there are many other potential trade targets available, and they would be upgrades over Samardzija anyway.
First is David Price. The long time Tampa Bay Ray has been included in trade rumors since just about the beginning of the season. With the Rays struggling this season, they could look to dump Price to begin rebuilding for next season. Price currently leads the league in strikeouts with 153, and possesses a 7-7 record with a 3.50 ERA. Not only would acquiring Price instantly give the Orioles a solidified ace, it would also take away a pitcher that dominates against them in the division.
The next best starting pitcher rumored to be on the market is White Sox ace Chris Sale. Sale has missed some games this season due to injury but currently is 8-1 with a 2.16 ERA. Sale is unhittable at times and at just 25 years old, has many more good years to come. The White Sox have struggled for a few years now and Sale has been a potential trade piece each season. Adding Sale would give the Orioles one of the top left handed pitchers in the game and a starter who is among the best in the AL yearly.
For either of these players, the Orioles would have to give up at least one, if not multiple top prospects, including pitcher Hunter Harvey as rumors have suggested. Likewise, players like Jonathan Schoop have been rumored to be targeted by other teams as pieces of a trade.
As a fan, I would give up Harvey, Schoop, and one other minor leaguer in a heartbeat for either Price or Sale. The acquisition of either player would instantly have a major impact on the Orioles and would continue to for years to come, if they were resigned. Both players are young and would pitch for multiple seasons for the O’s (hopefully) and just imagine the rotation next year of Price/Sale, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, and any two other players.
The Orioles tend to acquire veteran pitchers late in the season (see Scott Feldman and Joe Saunders) that pitch at an average level for the rest of that season and then are lost to free agency. It’s not very often that pitchers of this caliber are on the market and the Orioles would be incredibly smart to weigh the option of making a move of this sort.
The team currently is two games up on the Blue Jays for first place in the AL East with what has been an average starting rotation the entire season. Adding a legitimate number one starter who can dominate in each start would put the Orioles over the top and give them an ever greater chance of winning as the rotation goes around.