The Baltimore Orioles have been one of the least active teams this off-season, spending little on the free agent market and failing to come to an agreement with other teams on any trades. One of the reasons for the latter could be their resistance on including their top pitching prospects in a deal, according to Eduardo Encina of The Baltimore Sun.
The Orioles farm system is extremely top-heavy, with four pitching prospects residing well above the rest of their minor leaguers. Kevin Gausman is the top prospect in the system, and the right-hander will enter spring training competing for a spot in the Orioles rotation. He is among the top-5 pitching prospects in the game and is virtually major league ready, making him one of the most valuable commodities in the game. Barring a blockbuster, Gausman probably isn't headed anywhere.
Dylan Bundy is equally as talented as Gausman, but underwent Tommy John surgery this season and will miss most of 2014. Given his role in the Orioles future and diminished present value due to injury, the Orioles would be selling low on a valuable asset if they traded Bundy this off-season. He's unlikely to move either. Hunter Harvey was the Orioles first round pick in 2013, preventing him from being eligible for a trade until one year from his signing date (this summer).
That leaves Eduardo Rodriguez as the Orioles best trade chip should they decide to make a move. The left-hander doesn't have the ceiling of the previous three guys, but as a potential mid-rotation starter who has already spent half of a season in Double-A, he certainly has value. In the article, Encina quotes the Orioles as saying they would have to be "blown away" by an offer to move Rodriguez, which means they probably won't trade him. He also cites a failed discussion with the Mets regarding Rodriguez and Ike Davis, which is the exact opposite of blowing a team away. The Orioles were right to reject any offer that may have been made in that regard.
The Orioles once again have a strong young nucleus of pitching prospects around whom they can build. They have had little success developing pitching prospects in the past two decades, but they appear to be committed to trying again. Without a major move on the horizon, keeping their pitching prospects to themselves rather than lowering their asking price to meet a weakened market is the right move for their future.