Which way to go with the rotation for next season?

While we have taken some space here in recent days to begin to size up 2022 Orioles rotation candidates - and will continue to do some of that moving forward - let’s take a look at the bigger picture today.

That is, the rotation as a whole and how should team management approach it this coming season?

Plan A: The club has reached an agreement with right-hander Jordan Lyles. At a minimum, they hope he can eat some innings allowing younger pitchers more time to get minor league seasoning producing major league readiness. Under this plan, the Orioles would sign another pitcher or two in this category of pitchers to eat innings and help fill out the early-season rotation. They provide some early season cover for the young and developing starters - those we have already seen, like Dean Kremer and Zac Lowther, and those we have not yet seen, like Kyle Bradish and Kevin Smith.

Looking back at 2021, there were too many starts by pitchers called up from Triple-A only out of need and not because they forced their way on the roster. We know what happens under such instances.

If the Orioles employ this plan, at least veteran pitchers will be the ones thrown to the wolves. Hopefully, this allows the club to bring up Triple-A pitchers when they choose to and not out of desperation. Hopefully, this also limits the shuttle of hurlers moving back and forth between the minors and majors.

Plan B: The Lyles deal certainly could help, but it’s time to see what the young pitchers can do. We won’t know until they get extended looks at the big league level. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead with the young arms. Use them, all of them, and let’s see who is ready and who is not.

Will this produce some rotation nuggets? That’s the plan. The long-range future of the club hinges much on the young pitching. So as George Allen once said - yes a long time ago - the future is now.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Rodriguez-Throws-Bowie-White-Sidebar.jpgPlan C: Why can’t the Orioles do a bit of both Plan A and Plan B? No reason to have every young pitcher sink or swim now, but some are close to ready and we won’t know unless they try them out. They can always go back to the minors if not ready. Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez may not need any Triple-A time; he has shown with his talent that he may be ready now. Bradish spent most of last year at Triple-A. These are two that might be ready to crack the big league rotation.

At the same time, the club could pursue another veteran pitcher on a big league deal to again help out and provide some cover for the group of young pitchers. This plan, taking some from pile A and some from pile B, could be the best play for the organization for the 2022 rotation.

Plan D: Try something else. No need to go heavy with vets in the rotation or throw all the kids into the deep end too soon. And a compromise is not necessarily the best play either. If you fall in here, tell me why. What is your best plan for the 2022 rotation?

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