The Baltimore Orioles were one of baseball’s biggest surprises in 2012 thanks in large part to several unexpected pitching performances. Wei-Yin Chen and Jason Hammel formed a dependable duo at the top of Baltimore’s rotation. Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez emerged from the minor leagues to become the Orioles’ best pitchers down the stretch. In the rough and tumble American League East you can never have enough pitching. Here are five free agent starting pitchers that should interest the Baltimore Orioles.
Saunders came to Baltimore in a late August trade with the Diamondbacks. Saunders pitched well for the Orioles and was outstanding in two postseason starts. The 31 year-old Saunders would give the Orioles some rotation depth and buy time for top prospects Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.
The Angels declined Haren’s 2013 option last week making him a free agent. Haren had a disappointing 2012 season and reportedly lost velocity on his fastball. The veteran right-hander may have to settle for a short-term contract to re-establish his value. The Orioles could have interest in Haren on a one year deal to add some veteran depth to a what figures to be a fairly inexperienced 2013 rotation.
Greinke to the Orioles is a long shot given the club’s aversion to giving long-term contracts to starting pitchers but it is a possibility. If Greinke’s prior anxiety issues chase away big market clubs like the Red Sox and Yankees he could look to Baltimore as a viable lower stress alternative. Greinke would give the Orioles an impressive rotation by assuming the role of number one starter and pushing everyone else down in the rotation. Greinke’s price tag figures to exceed $125 million dollars and may be too rich for the Orioles.
McCarthy is coming off two terrific season with the Oakland Athletics. He has a history of success in the American League making him attractive to Baltimore. McCarthy also has a checkered injury history which could deter some potential suitors. Given the Orioles’ impressive pitching depth they could take a chance on giving McCarthy a short term contract.
Guthrie spent several season as the Orioles’ de facto ace before he was shipped to Colorado last winter. Guthrie bombed in Colorado but saved his season after a mid-season trade to the Royals. Guthrie went 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 14 starts with Kansas City. Guthrie would give the Orioles a dependable innings eater who is familiar with the team and the division.
*Information gathered from http://www.baseball-reference.com.
Dan Soderberg is a Baltimore native and lifelong Orioles fan. You can read some of Dan’s other work at http://dadstimeout.tumblr.com/ Follow Dan on Twitter.