Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that the Baltimore Orioles are focused on adding starting pitching this winter. The Orioles could desperately use rotation upgrades as they prepare for 2012, and Rosenthal hears Baltimore will be targeting free agent starters Wei-Yin Chen, Edwin Jackson, Paul Maholm and Joe Saunders.
Rosenthal notes that, as a club last season, the Orioles finished last in the majors in rotation ERA. So far this offseason, the O’s have only added Japanese free agent Tsuyoshi Wada to their mix of starters. Rosenthal believes new general manager Dan Duquette will remain active as the winter continues and says the Orioles will be a “team to watch over the next month”.
Wei-Yin, Jackson, Maholm and Saunders would all appeal to Baltimore because they are young enough to contribute for multiple seasons but can also provide their rotation with a veteran presence. All could sign multi-year deals this winter, and Jackson and Wei-Yin could reach agreements for four or more years.
Duquette has hit the international player pool especially hard, signing Wada and expressing interest in Wei-Yin, Yoennis Cespedes and others.
The Orioles are said to be intrigued by Jackson and his potential upside, but Baltimore doesn’t figure to be involved with the Scott Boras client at his current asking price. It was reported yesterday that Jackson is seeking a five-year deal in the $60 million range.
Rosenthal believes Maholm and Saunders may be more realistic options for the Orioles. Both pitchers would at least provide the O’s veteran starters that could help take some of the pressure off of de facto ace Jeremy Guthrie.
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