Building a better Heston Kjerstad trade package after MLB insider’s bad idea

Is there a trade that could immediately benefit both the Orioles and Guardians?
Oakland Athletics v Baltimore Orioles
Oakland Athletics v Baltimore Orioles / G Fiume/GettyImages

Everyone loves a good sports trade. Potential trades are always a popular talking point, especially when they involve two good teams. Recently, Jim Bowden of The Athletic, authored an article suggesting three possible MLB trades that he came up with. One of those trades involved Orioles youngster Heston Kjerstad.

After making his major league debut last season, Kjerstad began this season back in the minors. Kjerstad, the Orioles' current No. 4 prospect (No. 28 overall prospect, per MLB Pipeline) got off to a great start and earned International League Player of the Month honors. He played so well that he was recalled to Baltimore just one month into the season. 

Unfortunately Kjerstad has struggled to find playing time in a crowded Orioles outfield that had two left-handed hitters and a switch hitter already. With that much talent ahead of him and several good prospects behind him, Kjerstad is a player that could be traded in the near future for the right price.

Bowden suggested trading Kjerstad, who appears to be a star in the making, to the Cleveland Guardians for two middle relievers, Hunter Gaddis and Cade Smith. As FanSided’s Eric Cole has already discussed, Gaddis and Smith simply do not have the star power that it is believed the Orioles would require in a trade for Kjerstad. And with the Guardians only a half game behind the O’s for the best record in the AL, it seems pointless to try and put a package together to attempt to obtain Guardians All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase instead.

The Orioles could use some relief in the bullpen, but they’re not in dire need and should not be in a rush to make a trade, especially one involving a top prospect. They will get some relief internally relatively soon, as it was announced this past Tuesday that Grayson Rodriguez is progressing in his rehab and could be able to return when first eligible on May 15. Gray Rod’s return will likely force either Dean Kremer or Cole Irvin to the bullpen.

Building a more realistic Orioles trade package for Guardians relievers

If the Orioles do try and pursue a trade with the Guardians for a reliever, they could offer Kyle Stowers for Cade Smith. Stowers has been raking in Triple-A and would still help the Guardians improve in the outfield. Smith, who’s been a strikeout machine since moving to the bullpen after being drafted, could be an upgrade in the bullpen to Mike Baumann, who has been streaky this season after a record-tying 2023

Orioles fans would be sad to lose Stowers, but happy to see him get another opportunity in the majors. There may need to be a little more to the trade than a straight up one-for-one, but both teams stand to get immediate benefit from this trade and can afford to make the move.