The audible groans that you can hear all across the country are coming from the fanbase of the Baltimore Orioles, who are growing ever more frustrating with their front office as the days wear on during this 2013-14 offseason. Having already traded Jim Johnson, closer and a fan favorite, the Orioles have done very little to improve their team, which needs pitching more than it needs anything else at this point.
Yet, despite the presence of some very solid options out on the free agent market, Dan Duquette seems content to not only wait to pay for starting pitching, but to ignore the top options on the market altogether. Rather than focus on the “big three” of remaining starters, in Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza, and Ervin Santana, the Orioles are reportedly much more likely to be in on the likes of Bronson Arroyo, who somehow still hasn’t signed, and A.J. Burnett.
Either one of the latter two would be a fine addition to the staff, as they need whatever starting pitching they can acquire at this point. The O’s were 23rd in the league in team ERA, 26th in strikeouts, and were right around the middle of the pack as far as walks go. There are other factors to consider, of course, and there are pieces to work with in this rotation already. It’s not exactly a starting five that is in shambles.
However, while adding an arm like Arroyo or Burnett would be beneficial from a depth standpoint, this is a team that could really use an impact arm in the mix. Jimenez is the only one that has been connected to Baltimore among the trio of impact arms left, but Garza wouldn’t require the surrendering of a draft pick. The Orioles could pursue one of them, sign them, and then maybe grab someone like Paul Maholm to shore up the back of the rotation, depending on how the money worked out.
It’s unlikely that the Orioles go that route, of course. Duquette is extremely reluctant to spend, despite his team’s need for pitching. Arroyo or Burnett is likely going to be the guy, and the O’s will roll into 2014 with some sort of combination of Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman, Bud Norris, and Wei-Yin Chen, along with whoever they bring in via free agency. That’s not a terrible starting five, but it’s not a particularly deep one, and it’s sure not a championship one for the Baltimore Orioles.