Bird Talk: Starting pitching improvements, Lough and Wieters chatter

The Orioles wrapped up mini-camp last week and made some minor league signings.

Several national writers have weighed in on the state of the Orioles. Some of the reaction is more positive than many might expect.

* We are only three weeks from the start of spring training. Many fans have expressed their displeasure over the lack of moves the Orioles have made this offseason. Joe Cooney of Yahoo! Sports says the Orioles still have a chance to win the offseason.

As Cooney explains, the Birds still have most of their 2013 team in place. This includes a team that finished fourth in the American League in runs scored and first in home runs. Cooney says the O’s are lacking in starting pitching, or just pitching in general. Of the Orioles’ current starting pitchers, only Chris Tillman has thrown more than 200 innings (once) in his career. Cooney believes it’s crucial for the O’s to add at least one more 200-inning guy to the rotation. He suggests Bronson Arroyo, Matt Garza and A.J. Burnett are all options.

I say go for Burnett if he’s interested in pitching next season. He’s a local resident and has proven he can pitch in the American League East (just forget his stint with the Yankees). If not Burnett, Arroyo is the next best bet. He pitched for the Boston Red Sox for several years before being traded to the Reds. Signing one of these veterans couldn’t hurt the team.

* Others aren’t as keen on the Orioles’ offseason thus far. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports says the Orioles need to start spending money if they want to continue to be competitive in the AL East. Passan currently ranks the Orioles No. 21 out of 30 teams in his current MLB rankings.

* Tim Anderson of Yahoo! Sports says the Orioles’ acquisition of outfielder David Lough for Danny Valencia could be one of the best deals the team has ever made. That seems a little extreme if you ask me, but Anderson says the O’s got rid of a one-dimensional player in Valencia and added an above-average defensive outfielder who finished eighth in American League Rookie of the Year voting. Lough will be under the Orioles’ control through 2019.

* Matt Wieters remains the only arbitration-eligible Oriole yet to reach an agreement with the team. Wieters, as everyone knows, will be a free agent in two years. While his offensive production slowed last season, Wieters’ value comes behind the plate. His ability to call a game and throw out baserunners is a luxury not many teams can say they have. Comcast Sportsnet’s Rich Dubroff says Wieters could possibly be the Orioles’ best catcher in team history.

Think about that for a second. Is Wieters really the best catcher to slip on an Orioles uniform in the last 60 years? That’s up for debate, but it’s definitely an interesting question to consider.

That’s a wrap of the Bird talk going on nationally. Check back next week as we’re now just 10 days away from FanFest!

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