Anyone tired of reading and talking about the Orioles’ quest to sign a veteran starting pitcher?
If so, my apologies.
I’m actually tired of writing about it, but here I go again, checking the list of remaining free agent starters that’s provided by MLBTradeRumors:
Erik Bedard (35)
A.J. Burnett (37)
Chris Capuano (35)
Odrisamer Despaigne (27)
Jon Garland (34)
Tommy Hanson (27)
Aaron Harang (36)
Ubaldo Jimenez (30)
Jair Jurrjens (28)
Jeff Karstens (31)
Paul Maholm (32)
Jason Marquis (35)
Jeff Niemann (31)
Roy Oswalt (35)
Clayton Richard (30)
Ervin Santana (31)
Johan Santana (34)
Joe Saunders (33)
Jake Westbrook (36)
Suk-Min Yoon (27)
Barry Zito (36)
It’s clear that Burnett, Jimenez and Santana are the cream of this crop. They could be slotted behind Chris Tillman at the top of the rotation.
Here’s my question to you: Would you rather nab one of the other starters for the back end of the rotation or just let Zach Britton, Kevin Gausman, Steve Johnson, Josh Stinson, T.J. McFarland and the rest battle it out for the fifth spot?
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in the organization, and that includes the clubhouse, who doesn’t believe that a veteran starter for the top of the rotation is the biggest need on the team. Forget bullpen, forget a bat. And forget a five-inning starter in the fifth slot.
If Burnett wants to stay in the National League, make him accept a lower offer to do it. Trump the Pirates and Nationals and whatever mystery team may surface. And then let it leak to the press that the Orioles were willing to spend more than everyone else. Take the positive PR, which has been as invisible as a prudish Kardashian sister.
Also, don’t hold onto that first-round pick like grim death. If the money is right, give it up for Jimenez or Santana. Give it up for Kendrys Morales. Give it up for a bottle of Crystal Head vodka and a good cigar.
Jimenez isn’t a guy who routinely pitches deep into games, which is a concern. He averages four walks per nine innings, which will drive up a pitch count and drive a manager crazy. But you can argue that he has more upside than Santana.
At this point, I just want the club to sign a starter who can will upgrade the rotation and appease most of the fanbase. You can’t please everyone, of course.
No one in that group is without faults, but the Orioles desperately need to make a statement. Something like, “We said that we were going to spend money and get the payroll to $100 million, and we’ve done it.”
To me, Tim Hudson is the one who got away. The Orioles liked him, but he signed quickly - accepting a two-year, $23 million offer from the Giants back in November. They should have put $24 million on the table and challenged him to accept less to pitch in San Francisco.
It would have required an aggressive approach. You see the issue.
Hudson would have been a terrific presence at the top of the rotation, provided that he passed the physical. There’s something legit about him. And an early signing would have changed the entire tone of the Orioles’ offseason.
I’d be losing sleep over Hudson more so than Bronson Arroyo.
Shameless plug alert: I’m back on “Wall to Wall Baseball” from noon - 1:30 p.m. on MASN.