The Baltimore Orioles are neck and neck with the Boston Red Sox in the AL East so far in 2016. They are doing this despite a team ERA ranked 17th in MLB. If they want to keep up with the Red Sox, the Orioles must consider going out and getting a starting pitcher to replace Ubaldo Jimenez in the rotation.
The Orioles have a young top prospect pitcher in Hunter Harvey in the minors. Currently, he is injured and hasn’t pitched yet this season after missing all of last season with an elbow injury. He was able to pitch in the fall league, but the Orioles have held him back so far this season. As soon as he is ready they need to get him out to throw three or four starts to prove he is healthy. At 21 years of age, the teams trading for him would be looking to 2018 and beyond. As the son of former big league closer Bryan Harvey, he would bring a nice return and be expected to develop into a big league starter over time.
Meanwhile, the Orioles need to be in win-now mode. They have a great bullpen, and starters Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman are doing all they can to keep the Orioles in this race. It must be depressing for them to watch Jimenez’s starts. He has an ERA over 6.00 and a WHIP over 1.75. He is well on the wrong side of a replacement player and is costing the Orioles games. To put it in perspective, they would be better off calling up Odrisamer Despaigne, formerly of the San Diego Padres, and starting him instead.
The Orioles’ position players won’t stay productive forever. They must consider trading top prospect Harvey in 2016 while it will still make a difference.