As of right now the Orioles name six pitchers who will go into spring training battling for five starting rotation spots. Those six pitchers are believed to be Guthrie and Matusz (who are locks to make the starting rotation) along with Bergesen, Arrieta, Tillman, and Britton. You can also probably toss in VandenHurk as a rotation candidate if someone else gets injured.
I would be fine watching these young pitchers battle it out for the last few spots in the rotation. Every one of them has already pitched in the majors except for Britton, who really doesn’t have much else to prove in the minors. So it wouldn’t be a stretch to start the season with any of these guys in the rotation.
You can also look at the fact that these pitchers are the future of the Orioles for better or worse. Whether the Orioles become relevant again will depend on if these guys can live up to their potential. They certainly showed they can pitch toward the end of last season under Showalter.
The Orioles team ERA was 5.18 before Showalter and 3.54 with Showalter as the team’s manager. In comparison the best team ERA in the league was Oakland with a 3.56 ERA. The starters ERA under Showalter were even better at 3.16. Remember when the Orioles ended the season going 34-23 and the team was winning games against their AL East rivals? This was because of the young starting pitching finally coming through.
Chances are if the Orioles were to trade for Kenshin Kawakami from the Braves or the Phillies Joe Blanton, they won’t do much more than eat up innings. The Orioles were rumored to have asked about Kawakami during the Winter Meetings, but no longer seem to have interest. Blanton’s name has come up now that the Phillies signed Cliff Lee and could dump Blanton’s contract. Besides those two starters, the Orioles really haven’t been linked to any other veteran starters, but that could all change at a moment’s notice.
I don’t think the Orioles really need another starter as long as the Orioles young pitchers stay healthy. However, you can never have enough pitching and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have another veteran starter in the rotation to eat up innings along with Guthrie. At the very least, it can take some of the pressure off of the bullpen if you have another veteran you can count on to go deep into games. It can also take the pressure off of Guthrie, while at the same time, increasing the competition for the final couple spots in the rotation.
I think the best thing the Orioles can do is add another starting pitcher. You can never have enough pitching, and if you do, you can always just package one of your young starters for a power hitting first baseman named Prince Fielder.