Oct 9, 2011; Milwaukee, WI, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Kyle McLellan throws a pitch during game one of the 2011 NLCS against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Baltimore Orioles want pitching

With news that the Baltimore Orioles are seeking a starting pitcher, which isn’t surprising given the lack of experience among the pitchers who are currently in the rotation. The guys in their rotation are inexperienced and very hit-or-miss, and as usual, the sweet spot is smaller than the whiff zone. So to speak.

Right now, Joe Blanton, Gavin Floyd, and Freddy Garcia are regarded as the three top trade targets among starting pitchers at this point. John Lannan is basically off the market due to a (surprise, surprise) recent hamstring injury that befell No. 5 starter Chien-Ming Wang. The Orioles, however, have been flirting with the idea of adding Kyle McClellan to the staff, which would be an interesting buy-low option for this club. So there are four pitchers to choose from, yet only three seem logical to the O’s at this point.

The Chicago White Sox are not going to trade Floyd, unless if the offer ends up being too good to resist. So basically, they are looking for a pitching-hungry team to overpay. Baltimore doesn’t qualify as one of these teams, and they are far more interested in adding an experienced starter who can give them some solid innings and isn’t expensive.

Joe Blanton might be a little out of their range, so it will most likely come to Freddy Garcia and Kyle McClellan. Of the two, I would say that McClellan is the most likely option (well, of the four as well). He is going to be relatively easy to acquire from a value standpoint, and the Orioles aren’t looking for a high-line starter. McClellan is a replacement level pitcher, but the Orioles just want veteran depth. They have young pitchers chomping at the bit, and all they are presumably looking for is veteran insurance.

With Chris Carpenter‘s Opening Day status in doubt, the Cardinals might not be willing to trade McClellan and could keep him for depth purposes. I would try to get something out of him, but I can definitely understand the hesitation from the Cards point of view.

If the O’s are truly interested in upgrading at the position- still don’t know why they traded Jeremy Guthrie- then they should go with Blanton. I don’t understand why the team is interested in acquiring starters after trading Guthrie, and it seems like the front office doesn’t have a real plan. This team should be in rebuilding mode, and they aren’t in the position to trade prospects for starters who will only make them marginally better. Blanton or Floyd will help them by a few wins, but it will take some minor league talent to get them, which is more important than a pitching upgrade. Adding McClellan is even worse, because he just deprives a young pitcher who is just as good of a role in the rotation.

The Orioles can go three routes:

1. Acquire Floyd or Blanton and be serious about upgrading the rotation (Bad idea and least likely)

2. Add Kyle McClellan (if Freddy Garcia, change next part of sentence to “marginally valuable”) who is practically useless to them and is as good as Dana Eveland (Terrible idea but somewhat likely)

3. Do nothing (Good idea and somewhat likely)

It’s almost impossible to predict what a team with no plan is going to do, because we don’t have a clue if they don’t have a clue. For Blaine’s sake, I hope the Orioles come to their senses and realize that it’s time to rebuild; not trade the rebuilding pieces for a couple of wins.

Be sure to check out all of Call to the Pen’s transaction breakdowns for the 2011-12 offseason. You can follow Call to the Pen on Twitter at @FSCalltothePen or like us here on Facebook.

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Tags: Baltimore Orioles Chicago White Sox Chien-Ming Wang Chris Carpenter Dana Eveland Freddy Garcia Gavin Floyd Jeremy Guthrie Joe Blanton John Lannan Kyle McClellan St Louis Cardinals

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