Pitching market losing appeal for Orioles

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles are on a rotation roll of late, with Asher Wojciechowski the latest starter to impress yesterday with three scoreless innings. They’ve got Tommy Milone throwing this morning at the Ed Smith Stadium complex and Wade LeBlanc prepping for Wednesday’s start in Jupiter.

John Means retired all nine batters he faced Sunday in Clearwater. Alex Cobb impressed in his simulated game and hasn’t experienced any discomfort in his hip or knee.

Bailey-Pitching-Orange-ST-sidebar.jpgOther candidates are making their bids, including Rule 5 pick Brandon Bailey, who tossed two shutout innings Friday in Bradenton.

No outsiders allowed?

None are on the verge of relocating to Sarasota.

The free agent market has become much less desirable to the Orioles with three weeks remaining before they break camp. Time is running out to get an idle starter ready for opening day.

Keeping a pitcher back at extended spring training isn’t a course of action that the team wants to travel.

“I think we’d have to look really hard at the circumstance and get a real good sense of what they’ve been doing the last couple of weeks and where they’re at and what the deal would be looking like,” said executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias.

“We’ll keep our ears open, but we’re getting to the point where I think you have to start to worry about the buildup aspect of it and how that’s going to be handled.”

One solution beyond playing the arms dealt to them is bringing in a starter who’s been cut or opted out of his contract.

Who hasn’t been sitting at home. Who hasn’t been playing catch in his backyard.

“I think that’s a totally different scenario,” Elias said. “It’s just more the guys that haven’t had a spring training experience. That’s an extra variable. But we’re certainly out scouting other camps and keeping an eye on guys that are bubble guys on other people’s rosters.”

The Orioles want innings and won’t gamble on a health risk. Andrew Cashner hasn’t been signed and he’s regarded as a durable alternative, but the price he’s set apparently isn’t a match.

The list of free agent starters, per MLBTradeRumors.com, reads as follows:

Clay Buchholz (35)
Andrew Cashner (33)
Marco Estrada (36)
Matt Harvey (31)
Clayton Richard (36)
Danny Salazar (30)
Aaron Sanchez (27)
Jason Vargas (37)

A few names that came off the board didn’t interest the Orioles due to the medicals.

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