Do the Orioles have enough pitching as the roster currently stands?

In recent days we have discussed the possibility of the Orioles adding a starting pitcher via a trade and it’s been a topic at hand for the entire offseason. The club remains one of several that seem intent on adding one quality starting pitcher to their current rotation.

Barring a real surprise – one where the Orioles dive into the deep-end of the free-agent pool and offer big dollars to someone – a trade for a pitcher has seemed the most logical move all along. They have a deep and talented farm and can compete with just about anyone via the trade market where they don’t seem to have the same desire via free agency.

But what if the Orioles miss out here or in the end, determine they are not ready to meet the trade price to get another starting pitcher? What if they have to take the field in late March without an addition in the rotation?

Do they have enough right now to have a 90-100 win team that will contend for the playoffs? Probably, but another starter would sure provide added insurance to better answer that as being more positive.

For the 2023 season, the O’s team ERA was 3.89 to rank fifth-best in the American League. Baltimore was just a few points behind third-place Tampa Bay's 3.86 and a bit further back of first-place Minnesota's 3.74.

In the first half of the season, Orioles pitching went 54-35 (.607) with a 4.15 ERA. In the second half the staff went 47-26 (.644) with a 3.58 ERA that was first in the AL and third in the major leagues. The O's played at a 104-win pace after the All-Star game.

The O’s rotation ERA was 4.14 for the year to rank seventh-best in the AL. But the rotation ERA in the second half was 3.74. That second-half rotation ERA was third-best in the AL and fifth-best in MLB. Minnesota’s rotation ERA of 3.82 ranked first in the AL over the full year. So, the O’s were very, very competitive and among the better rotations in the game in the second half.

Does that bode well for the 2024 season?

I say it does but when you have pitchers rolling after the break as Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez were, Dean Kremer was to a bit of a lesser extent and John Means was late in the year, a step back of some sort is possible. It is said sometimes that the players will “only get better.” That is true - unless they get worse. Only get better? Sure would be nice if we could count on that one.

But we all saw how good these guys can be.

Kyle Bradish had an ERA of 2.18 his last 19 starts. Rodriguez pitched to an ERA of 2.26 his last dozen starts. Kremer had an ERA of 2.89 after Aug. 4. Means had a 2.66 ERA in September.

These numbers are not just good, they are really, really good. That is a core of a rotation that, pitching like that, could be among the best in baseball. They just have to keep that up when the 2024 season begins.

This quartet could be the good basis for a strong rotation. And we have not even mentioned that DL Hall and/or Tyler Wells could make some starts too. The addition of another rotation pitcher could move that pair to the bullpen where they could be part of a deep and strong unit. Or they could make some starts or many starts next season. Cole Irvin, now out of options, could be in the hunt for the pen or rotation as well.

There is depth here even without an addition.

Do the O’s have enough pitching right now? Best answer as of early January is a definite maybe.  



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