Even with their glut of arms, and up to five guys competing for the No. 5 spot, the Baltimore Orioles are still looking for more arms to bolster their starting rotation. Seems like overkill, doesn’t it?
Not so much, actually.
As much as the Orioles possess in quantity and upside among their starters in camp, what they lack is good ol’ experience and reliability. Out of the team’s current projected starting five, only Wei-Yin Chen threw more than 120 big league innings in the majors in 2012 — and he was a rookie coming in from the international circuit last season.
The rest of the guys are more question marks than they are answers. Jason Hammel, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez and Brian Matusz have just 407.1 innings between them last year, and only Hammel have had any kind of significant track record of success — and he comes with a balky knee.
That’s a whole lot of upside to bank on. Yes, there are guys who can come in to take over, but whether it’s Jake Arrieta or Zach Britton, it leaves the Oroles in the same boat.
The harsh fact is that the team does not have a reliable, experienced middle of the rotation arm – and they may be looking westward at the Los Angeles Dodgers to get it.
The Dodgers, as it’s been well documented, have a bit of a problem in the having-too-many-veteran-starters department. Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, and Ted Lilly are all currently on the outside looking in a a job, and they’re costing the Los Angeles some $25 million dollars between them in 2013
It’s a problem that the Dodgers would like to alleviate — but would any of them really fit?
Lilly, not so much. The left-hander missed almost the entire 2012 season with a shoulder injury that required surgery, and more question marks is not what the Orioles need, especially not at 37-years old.
Both Capuano and Harang, on the other hand, would serve nicely as a workhorse type near the back-end of the starting five.
I have a feeling that Harang’s declining control makes him the lesser option here, but for a guy who is being brought in to eat innings, he’ll likely do the job with an ERA in the high-4.00s in the AL East.
Capuano might actually even fit in as the No. 3 in the rotation because of his superior K/BB (3.00 in 2012), and he’s thrown 384 innings over the last two seasons. He’d be the guy that the Orioles would probably want most, though the Dodgers have said that they may put him in the bullpen, so he may be more difficult to acquire.
After coming off a surprise season in 2012 and making it to the playoffs, Baltimore will have less margin of error in 2013 — they can’t afford to have their pitchers develop on the job as they’d done in years prior.
Harang and Capuano threw almost as many innings combined as the four guys that the O’s have lined up right now outside of Chen, and if the team can work out a deal with the Dodgers (likely to take on salary), both would serve the Orioles’ purposes.
Kyle Lohse would too, actually, but … nah, not going to go there. Not today, anyway.