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Do the Baltimore Orioles Need to Acquire a Starting Pitcher? We Don’t Think So

July 22nd, 2014 at 9:26 AM
By Josh Michael

We have been flooded with questions from our readers and followers asking about the Baltimore Orioles trying to acquire a starting pitcher at the deadline, and who they should get. While we do answer the questions as to who may be fits for the rotation, we do not believe that the Orioles need to acquire a starting pitcher.

'Kevin Gausman' photo (c) 2014, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

That stance may not be popular among Orioles fans, but hear us out first.

First off, of the starting pitchers that are legitimate aces or even number twos, and we are talking about David Price, Jon Lester, James Shields, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, only the two Philadelphia Phillies pitchers are legitimate possibilities because neither the Rays or Red Sox would trade their guys within the division and the Royals believe they are still in the race, so they are not going to dump their best pitcher, at least not yet.

Hamels and Lee are both really expensive and would cost top prospects and the Orioles have stayed the course on not including top prospects in trade offers, and we have not heard anything to the contrary regarding that stance. Now it is possible a bunch of mid-level prospects could get the deal done, including guys like Eduardo Rodriguez, Mike Wright, Dariel Alvarez, Buck Britton, Tim Berry and others, but would you want the Orioles to essentially drain their minor league organizations for either Lee or Hamels? We wouldn't.

Now, the mid-level starting pitchers that the Orioles are rumored to have interest in, mainly A.J. Burnett and Ian Kennedy, can be had at fairly minimal loss of prospects. However, we do not believe that either guy is legitimately an upgrade over what the Orioles already have and both have been pitching in the National League for quite some time and let's face it, it is easier to pitch in the NL. Burnett had two good years in Pittsburgh in 2012 and 2013 but has struggled in Philadelphia this season posting a 4.08 ERA. Kennedy has pitched in the NL for the majority of his career and his 3.62 ERA this season is his lowest since 2011 and that comes with pitching in the NL West where there are only two good teams and he pitches in one of the most pitcher friendly ball parks in all of baseball.

All of that being said, we also believe that the Orioles pitching staff as it is conceived right now, is good enough to win the AL East, and once you get into the playoffs anything can happen. Baltimore's starting rotation allows 4.08 runs per game, and per Baseball Reference, that is the fourth lowest in the American League. Since the beginning of June, the Orioles starters have boasted a 3.63 ERA in 253 innings pitched over 44 starts.

Now, if Kevin Gausman has a couple more starts like he did on Sunday and Ubaldo Jimenez cannot get it straightened out, then yes, the Orioles could use another starting pitcher, but to make a move that involves some of your top 20 prospects as a just in case seems very high risk, low reward to us.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the Orioles NEED to add a starting pitcher? Let your voice be heard by posting a comment!


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