Dan Duquette has had an uneventful tenure as the Baltimore Orioles GM. He’s been on the job less than two months but in that time he has done little to improve the on field product. Baltimore had baseball’s worst pitching staff in 2011. Duquette has added only Japanese lefty Tsuyoshi Wada to the team’s starting rotation.
The Orioles are going to need significant additions to the starting rotation before the start of the season. Baltimore hasn’t had a winning season since 1997 and the once promising pitching prospects who were expected to revive the franchise have largely flamed out.
Duquette has options to improve the staff and all it will take is cold hard cash. Edwin Jackson is arguably the best free agent pitcher left on the market, all apologies to Roy Oswalt and his creaky back. Jackson has had some success in the American League previously for Tampa, Detroit and the White Sox. Given the recent 5 year $65 million extension the White Sox gave John Danks it will probably take a similar deal to land Jackson. Baltimore has been reluctant to sign pitchers to deals longer than three years but if the team ever hope to compete that stance must change.
Jackson has been in the big leagues since 2003 but he is still just 28 years old. He isn’t an number one starter but he won’t be paid like one. He could slot in behind Jeremy Guthrie for the Orioles and push youngster Zach Britton and newcomer Wada into the three and four slots. Orioles top prospect Dylan Bundy may reach the Major Leagues by late in the 2013 season. Jackson, Britton and Bundy could give Baltimore a top three to be proud of. It’s a big “if” but that’s really all the Orioles have at this point. Jackson would be a huge improvement for Baltimore and while his addition wouldn’t make the 2012 Orioles contenders he would make them better.