After losing two 2014 draft picks, should the Orioles part with a third?

Once you have given up the 17th and 35th picks in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, why not part with another one?

That is a question the Orioles face now, as they have been linked to players like Nelson Cruz and Kendrys Morales on the free agent market.

This morning on MLB Network, Ken Rosenthal said the Mariners and Orioles remain the most likely landing spots for Cruz, with his last team, Texas, still a possibility.

Last summer, the Orioles traded a competitive balance pick to Houston in the Bud Norris trade, and they had to part with the 17th pick next June to sign pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who had his introductory press conference this morning.

If the O’s sign another player tied to draft pick compensation - and Cruz and Morales both are - they would give up their next-highest pick and that would be a second-round pick, the 55th overall, in the 2014 draft. If that pick is lost, the highest pick the Orioles would have next June would be their third-round selection, No. 91 overall.

Would that amount to punting the 2014 draft? Somewhat, but you can still get good players at that spot, it’s just the odds are longer the deeper down the draft board you go. It’s possible, but a lot less likely, to hit big with the 91st pick.

By the way, Wil Myers of the Tampa Bay Rays, who was the 2013 American League Rookie of the Year, was the 91st pick in the draft in 2009 by Kansas City. So it can happen.

The Orioles’ last three third-round picks were all a little later than the 91st pick. as they took pitcher Mike Wright 94th overall in 2011, shortstop Adrian Marin 99th in 2012 and pitcher Stephen Tarpley 98th overall last year.

No doubt two things conspired here to lead the Orioles to give up two draft picks so far with maybe another one yet to go. That is the current state on the farm along with the urgency to win during the so-called window of opportunity.

Keith Law ranked four O’s pitching prospects among the top 43 in the sport, along with ranking the O’s farm system No. 10 overall, while Baseball America ranked the O’s No. 12. The Orioles feel the recent signings of young international players Carlos Diaz and Jomar Reyes also add to quality and depth on the farm. The Orioles farm system is in decent shape right now.

Dan Duquette has said often that over the long term that the Orioles’ core players must come through drafting and player development. That still holds true, but obviously this year, with the possibility that players like Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy, could only be together one more season, he had to deviate from that to get Jimenez and Norris.

For now, the Orioles gave up a future piece for one that can help now. Did they make the right move? Should they consider parting with the 55th pick, as well?

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