According to a report from Bruce Levine, the Orioles are very interested in trading for Jeff Samardzija and Baltimore has the young pitchers the Cubs would require in a deal for Samardzija.
Levine reported Wednesday morning the Orioles “appear to be the leading team of interest in the Jeff Samardzija sweepstakes” and his sources confirmed the Cubs are interested in several of the Orioles’ pitching prospects.
RHP Dylan Bundy, RHP Kevin Gausman, RHP Hunter Harvey and LHP Eduardo Rodriguez “top the list of young arms the Cubs are scouting” in the Orioles system according to Levine.
Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Eduardo Rodriguez and Hunter Harvey were ranked by Baseball America as the top four prospects in the Orioles system prior to the season. Bundy is still recovering from Tommy John surgery last June. The Baltimore Sun reported last week that Bundy pitched in an extended Spring Training game and is progressing well from Tommy John.
Kevin Gausman is pitching at the Triple-A level (Norfolk in the International League) and is 1-2 in eight starts with a 2.41 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. In 37 1/3 innings, Gausman has allowed 33 hits with 15 walks and 35 strikeouts. Gausman appeared in only one game for the Orioles this season and did not fare too well against the Tigers on May 14 (five runs, six hits, two walks, two strikeouts in four innings).
The Cubs were rumored to be interested in LHP Eduardo Rodriguez last year. Rodriguez throws his fastball in the 92-93 mph range and can hit 95 mph with his fastball. Rodriguez can locate to both sides of the plate and his slider is his best secondary pitch. Rodriguez projects to be a No. 3 starter in the big leagues. The 21-year old is 1-2 at the Double-A level this season with a 5.57 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP (21 hits, seven walks and 14 strikeouts in 21 innings).
Hunter Harvey was the Orioles first round pick last June and projects as a middle of the rotation starter in the big leagues by most, but Baseball America thinks he has top of the rotation potential. Baseball Prospectus rated Harvey as the 58th best prospect in the game prior to the season. The 19-year old is pitching in full season Low-A Ball in the South Atlantic League and in nine starts he’s allowed 29 hits with 18 walks and 57 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. Harvey’s fastball sits in the 93-94 mph and he has smooth mechanics but needs to work on his changeup. Hunter is the son of former big league closer Bryan Harvey.