The Baltimore Orioles have five rotation spots and six starters. With none of them being a fit for the bullpen, will one of them end up on the trading block?
As the famous saying goes, you can never have enough starting pitching. The Baltimore Orioles however have a different problem than most teams. They have six starters and five rotation spots. Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy are a lock to fill three of those rotation spots. Which means Yovani Gallardo, Wade Miley and Ubaldo Jimenez will compete for the two remaining spots in the rotation next spring.
The logical thing to do is have the three pitchers compete for a rotation spot in Spring Training and stash the loser in the bullpen. However, Gallardo, Miley and Jimenez have limited experience in the bullpen.
Jimenez spent time in the bullpen last season, but most of his work occurred in a mop-up role. His final outing from the pen was in the Wild Card game, giving up the home run to Edwin Encarnacion. The Orioles are aware they won’t receive much for him, since he’s in the final year of his $50 Million contract. Despite his recent struggles, Jimenez posted a 2.82 ERA following the All-Star break.
Gallardo is entering the final guaranteed year of his contract; he has a $13 Million option for the 2018 season and Gallardo will make $11 Million in 2017. It doesn’t help Gallardo hasn’t been in the bullpen since 2007, which was his rookie year with the Milwaukee Brewers. The Orioles anticipate Gallardo will be healthy entering the 2017 season.
Miley is the cheapest of the three; he will make approximately $8 Million going into the 2017 season, and his contract includes a $12 Million option for 2018. Like Gallardo, Miley hasn’t seen much time in the bullpen; he recently pitched out of the pen for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Trading Miley sounds tempting, but the Orioles wouldn’t have a left-handed option for the rotation.
The Orioles are in a tough position; it would be wise to move one of them (possibly Gallardo or Jimenez), but the team could use one of them down the stretch. Especially if Tillman, Bundy and Gausman are placed on the disabled list at some point during 2017.
In a way, there’s no right answer on what the Orioles should do. What the Orioles do know is it’s better to have a plethora of options than no options at all.