How Orioles Can Still Improve Part 1: Starting Rotation

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The Baltimore Orioles have made a great deal of changes to the team during the offseason. 

However, though the Orioles have re-signed outfielder/designated hitter Mark Trumbo, traded for outfielder Seth Smith, and signed catcher Welington Castillo, they still should make some more moves.

Now you’ll probably ask me, “What else can they do to improve the team?”

Here’s what they should do:

Improve the Starting Rotation

Last season, the Orioles saw many take their turn at starting. Nine different pitchers made starts for Baltimore, including the departed Vance Worley (signed a minor league deal with the Nationals), Yovani Gallardo (traded to Seattle for Smith), and the mid-season acquisition Wade Miley. The staff also included Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright, Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Ubaldo Jimenez and Chris Tillman.

When the season first started, Gallardo, Jimenez, Wright and Wilson, all were starters. Gallardo battled injuries and the loss of speed on his fastball. Wilson and Wright had growing pains as two young starters. They would eventually make their home in the bullpen. Jimenez struggled with his control and was eventually moved to the bullpen as well, but he made a return to the starting staff. Miley originally struggled as an Oriole, when he was traded to Baltimore from Seattle.

Some writers point out pitchers Jimenez and Miley as guys who could improve during this season. Jake Ness of Orioles Uncensored brought up an intriguing point about Miley’s refinement at the end of the season:

Another tweak Miley made to his game at the turnaround of last season was introducing a new pitch. Ironically, it is the nemesis of the Orioles front office. Yes, it is a cutter. Aside from a short time in 2015 (which may have just been some misreadings of a fastball or slider), Miley has never thrown a cutter, yet threw it 9.35-percent of the time last September. Along with slightly heightening use of the sinker, Miley found a nice balance of pitches to keep hitters guessing in his final month.

Projected Starting Staff (Without Additions):

  1. Chris Tillman
  2. Kevin Gausman
  3. Dylan Bundy
  4. Ubaldo Jimenez
  5. Wade Miley

Alternative Starting Staff (Bundy innings limit):

  1. Chris Tillman
  2. Kevin Gausman
  3. Ubaldo Jimenez
  4. Wade Miley
  5. Dylan Bundy

Now that staff isn’t horrendous, but it could be improved. One option that has been mentioned is Jason Hammel. Hammel was a very important cog to the Orioles’ success during the 2012 season, pitching to an 8-6 record and a 3.43 ERA. Not only did he pitch well in Baltimore back then, but he had a 15-10 record and 3.83 ERA in 2016, en route to winning a ring with the Cubs. He should be a very easy fit in the Orioles’ clubhouse as a veteran who has played for the team in the past.

Projected Starting Staff (With Hammel):

  1. Chris Tillman
  2. Kevin Gausman
  3. Jason Hammel
  4. Dylan Bundy
  5. Ubaldo Jimenez (Miley becomes the swingman out of the bullpen)

Another intriguing veteran addition would be Jered Weaver. No, he hasn’t had the greatest of seasons for two years now, but it could just be time for a change of scenery. He pitched to a 4.64 ERA in 2015 and a 5.06 ERA in 2016. Possibly, the Orioles could start him in the back end of their rotation.

Projected Starting Staff (With Weaver):

  1. Chris Tillman
  2. Kevin Gausman
  3. Dylan Bundy
  4. Ubaldo Jimenez
  5. Jered Weaver

Check in tomorrow for Part 2!

About Kyle Andrews 90 Articles
Born in Norfolk, VA and raised Baltimore, MD. Currently a college student at the University of Baltimore and formerly the sports editor of McDaniel College. Also a former intern of PressBox Online in Baltimore.

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