Giving up pitching for pitching?

Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie might be the Orioles’ biggest bargaining chip this winter. Adam Jones rivals him in that category, but executive vice president Dan Duquette seems intent on holding onto the center fielder and perhaps opening dialogue on a contract extension after the holidays.

The Orioles want to acquire a starting pitcher, and they figure that a trade is the best method. But does it make sense to trade a pitcher - especially one who eats up the most innings - for another pitcher?

I posed that question to Duquette earlier this week.

“I don’t know that we have the kind of pitching depth that we need,” he said. “It would be hard for us to trade pitching unless we got some pitching in return or we had a viable alternative in place.”

At this point, the Orioles would need pitching in return. I don’t see viable alternatives.

“Yeah, I would think so,” he said.

So it stands to reason that any deal for Guthrie would have to include pitching in return. And we’re talking major league-ready pitching.

“We need to upgrade our pitching staff,” Duquette said.

No argument here.

The pitching depth would look a whole lot better if guys like Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman mow down hitters in spring training, and again at Triple-A if that’s where they’re assigned.

“Some of the young arms are interesting, but we need to get them from prospect to performance,” Duquette said. “They’ve shown varying degrees and levels of promise, but the idea is to get them over the hump so that promise translates into performance and winning more games.”

On a separate note, congratulations to head athletic trainer Richie Bancells and assistant Brian Ebel for being named the PBAT’s Major League Athletic Training Staff of the Year by their peers in the industry.

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