It's Sunday, and that means its time for yet another edition of Orioles101 Mailbag, and this week we were once again flooded with questions surrounding a reoccurring subject of the Baltimore Orioles starting rotation, while Minor League questions were frequent.
As we always do, we want to remind you that if we receive multiple questions on the same topic, we answer them with one general answer as opposed to answering each one and repeating ourselves.
What will the Orioles do when Ubaldo Jimenez returns from the DL?
Easily the most frequent question we received this week outside of the approaching MLB non-waiver trade deadline, but alas that has come and gone. There are several factors that will go into this decision for the Orioles and Manager Buck Showalter. First off, the current five starters have been pitching pretty darn well, while Jimenez struggled a bit in his first rehab start earlier this week with the Aberdeen Ironbirds. Secondly, if the Birds elect to try and go with a six-man rotation for a little bit, they would have to either go with a short bullpen or bench in the process.
Ultimately, we believe the Orioles will try and delay this as long as possible, especially if Jimenez struggles in his next rehab start, but eventually they will have to make a tough decision, and only time will tell what Showalter and the Orioles will do.
Which current minor leaguer could be the biggest help to the Orioles down the stretch run?
This is a pretty loaded question in that there are several players that could help the Orioles, especially when rosters expand on September 1, but to try and narrow it down to who could be the absolute biggest help, we would have to say it could be recently acquire utility man Jimmy Paredes. As some have labeled Ryan Flaherty, Paredes too is a super utility player in that he can play all over the diamond and to us, adds more to this team than Flaherty does. Paredes has a better bat and the speed he would bring to this team would be a big shot in the arm considering the lack of real speed currently on the roster.
If the playoffs started right now, who would be in their four-man starting rotation?
A fun question to answer because it assumes the Orioles are in the playoffs and in a series as opposed to the wild card game, but we are with all of you in that we are expecting the Birds to make the playoffs and win the AL East. Having said that, to actually answer the question instead of ramble on, we believe that right now, you could only pencil in Chris Tillman and probably Wei-Yin Chen as sure-ins for that four-man rotation. It is possible that neither would make the rotation as we honestly believe that the Orioles playoff rotation would be based more on their performances leading up to the playoffs, thus it is almost impossible to answer.
Chen is the only lefty in the mix, which is why we believe he would be among the four, especially if the Orioles face a team that struggles against left handed starters. Tillman is likely to be there barring a horrendous run into the playoffs and the way Bud Norris and Kevin Gausman are pitching, you would expect them to be there as well, but that would leave Jimenez, who has the most playoff experience of any Orioles starter out of the rotation and for all we know, when he returns, he could capture his former form and be that guy who dominated last September. Lastly, Miguel Gonzalez has also pitched well and he has the bulldog mentality to pitch well in big games.
As always, we thank everyone for their questions throughout the week, and we continue to urge you to send us questions every week as Orioles101 Mailbag is here to stay as a weekly edition.
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