Taking another look at the pitching

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles reached agreement on a four-year deal with Ubaldo Jimenez, and I still have fans asking whether they also could sign Ervin Santana.

They seem set with starters. Let's not get greedy.

Manager Buck Showalter can do some maneuvering with his starting candidates due to openings in the bullpen and having guys with options.

The only certainties among relievers appear to be Tommy Hunter, Darren O'Day, Ryan Webb and Brian Matusz. Though Matusz will work out as a starter, his hopes of remaining one have taken a serious blow.

It's conceivable that Zach Britton and Suk-min Yoon could begin the season in the bullpen. Britton is out of options, so he'll need to crack the rotation, be used in long relief or pack his bags.

If Yoon is sent down, the Orioles could delay T.J. McFarland's trip to Triple-A Norfolk and use him in relief while Troy Patton serves a 25-game suspension. They also could turn to Josh Stinson, who's out of options and one of Showalter's favorites.

I've already predicted that Alfredo Aceves will make the club. His versatility allows Showalter to use him in long relief, in a set-up role or as a backup closer. He also can start if needed.

The rotation could consist of Jimenez, Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris. This isn't what Yoon had in mind when he signed, but Jimenez changed the landscape.

Norfolk manager Ron Johnson is going to like his rotation, no matter how it unfolds. It could include Yoon, McFarland, Kevin Gausman, Steve Johnson and Mike Wright. Knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa can't be forgotten. Neither can Liam Hendriks.

Eduardo Rodriguez probably will start at Double-A Bowie, where he made 11 appearances last season, and move up later.

There's no point in speculating about position players until we find out whether the Orioles sign a full-time designated hitter. Executive vice president Dan Duquette isn't done shopping.

The Orioles remain linked to Kendrys Morales and Nelson Cruz, their second round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft fully exposed. I get the sense that Showalter would prefer Morales, but as I've written, not everyone in the organization is sold on him.

You know where I stand on the subject.

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