It’s still got to be pitching for pitching

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail was interviewed earlier today on MLB Network Radio’s “Power Alley.” He stressed again, as we’ve heard, that the Orioles will need to receive pitching in return if they make a trade at the non-waiver deadline.

That’s especially true if they move Jeremy Guthrie - the Tigers, Indians, Rangers and Reds are interested, among others - but it pretty much applies to any trade. Starting pitching is the No. 1 priority. A team looking to add an arm to its rotation will have to relinquish a major league-ready arm or two.

When it was suggested to MacPhail that it would take “an amazing package” to part with someone like Guthrie, the one starter who’s capable of giving the rotation 200 innings, he replied, “I think the amazing package that would be hard to turn down would have to include pitching back to the point where we felt that, while we would go through some short-term pain, it would be worthwhile in the end.

“Pitching is something that is hard to acquire in our circumstance though free agency. It’s expensive, it’s fragile. And all things being equal, they tend to avoid the American League East, which I don’t really blame them for. And particularly starting pitching. The relievers will come, but starting pitching is something we feel like we have to grow here on our own. You can get it through the system, you can get it via a trade, but those are really your primary avenues.

“I would think any big package coming back, you would have to feel like you got enough pitching coming back to compensate for the loss of that one innings-eater in your rotation.”

By the way, the Yankees and Red Sox also reportedly have some interest in Guthrie. I know trading within the division isn’t ideal, but are the Orioles really in any position to turn down an offer if it’s the best one on the table? And as far as I know, MacPhail hasn’t been told to avoid those teams.

Also, if anyone is willing to give up a starting pitcher and a legitimate first base prospect who’s at least close to being ready, get it done.

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