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Orioles have questions in their rotation

Club likely to seek reinforcements to complement Bundy, Gausman
MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

BALTIMORE -- Fortunately for the Orioles (and many teams around Major League Baseball), the season doesn't start today. The O's still have significant holes to fill in their rotation, and they are actively exploring ways to add at least a pair of pitchers -- preferably at least one lefty to balance out the rotation. Though as executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has said, they won't add a lefty just to do it; it has to be an upgrade over the right-handed options they are looking at.

Internally, the Orioles used a rotating cast in September to try to get a look at some different guys heading into this year's camp. Only Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman will enter Spring Training with rotation spots, with the other three anyone's guess at this point, depending on who the team adds and who emerges this spring. (The final three names below Gausman are pure guesswork at this point.)

BALTIMORE -- Fortunately for the Orioles (and many teams around Major League Baseball), the season doesn't start today. The O's still have significant holes to fill in their rotation, and they are actively exploring ways to add at least a pair of pitchers -- preferably at least one lefty to balance out the rotation. Though as executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has said, they won't add a lefty just to do it; it has to be an upgrade over the right-handed options they are looking at.

Internally, the Orioles used a rotating cast in September to try to get a look at some different guys heading into this year's camp. Only Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman will enter Spring Training with rotation spots, with the other three anyone's guess at this point, depending on who the team adds and who emerges this spring. (The final three names below Gausman are pure guesswork at this point.)

Video: Pitching thin O's eyeing an ace at top of rotation

Gabriel Ynoa, Miguel Castro, Alec Asher, Mike Wright, Jayson Aquino and Rule 5 Draft pick Nestor Cortes are among those who will be looked at as starters (though others can and likely will be stretched out at the start of camp).

MLB.com is taking a look at the projected rotation of all 30 teams ahead of Spring Training. Here's how the O's might stack up:

ROTATION IF SEASON STARTED TODAY
Dylan Bundy, RHP
Kevin Gausman, RHP
Gabriel Ynoa, RHP
Miguel Castro, RHP
Alec Asher, RHP

STRENGTH
Bundy was one of the most consistent pitchers in the American League the first two months of the season and Gausman -- who got off to a rocky start -- showed signs of getting back to his old self. Should both of them take a step forward in 2018, the Orioles can at least feel good about the pair of homegrown arms.

QUESTION MARK
Everything else. Those three blank spots loom large, but while Baltimore isn't the only team that hasn't added pitching in a slow market, Duquette has said that the O's have to act quicker this offseason. So far, that hasn't been the case.

It will take an enticing offer to get a quality free-agent pitcher to choose the AL East (and hitter-friendly Camden Yards). The Orioles didn't receive the results they were hoping for from their last big offer to a free-agent arm in Ubaldo Jimenez, and part of the reason the Manny Machado trade rumors have dragged on so long is because the O's would be much better served acquiring starting pitching via a trade. (Though none of the proposed potential offers have met the Orioles' requirements in that regard.)

WHAT MIGHT CHANGE
Hopefully, a lot. The group below Gausman and Bundy should be competing for one spot, meaning the Orioles need to sign at least two viable starters before Spring Training. That should foster at least some competition for the final spot and give the O's some badly-needed depth in Triple-A. Make no mistake: if Baltimore is going to compete this year, it will need to produce better results from the rotation.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

 

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