Although the Orioles are predictably at the bottom of the AL East as they embark on the first full season of their rebuild, the team’s front office is also looking at various ways to add some starting pitching depth, writes MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko. Alex Cobb and Nate Karns were recently moved to the 60-day injured list, while right-hander Dan Straily and David Hess have been hit particularly hard, leaving the club particularly thin at the moment.
Despite the struggles of Straily and Hess, manager Brandon Hyde stated that “this is what we have” in regard to the team’s current mix of starters. Hyde added that there are some pitchers in the minors who are generating some excitement among the team’s decision-makers but stressed the importance of not rushing a player at the expense of his development. Left-hander Keegan Akin, in particular, has had only nine starts in Triple-A (and barely more than 300 innings since being drafted).
Hyde also suggested that first-year GM Mike Elias and his staff are exploring other potential depth adds. “I know our guys are working hard to see what else is out there, also,” said Hyde. “I think we’re always keeping an eye on what’s going on around the league. “
As far as readily available rotation cadidates, though, there’s not much available in the way of players who’ve been designated for assignment. The Orioles themselves designated one potential starter for assignment yesterday in Yefry Ramirez and claimed another in Chandler Shepherd. The free-agent market has a few veterans still eyeing work. Baltimore isn’t in a position to add Dallas Keuchel, but James Shields reportedly threw for teams recently and Ervin Santana was cut loose by the White Sox not long ago.
A few options seem to hit the waiver wire every week, and while the O’s have passed on recently designated arms like Aaron Slegers (Rays) and Andrew Moore (Rays, Giants), Baltimore will still stand out as a decent speculative landing spot whenever a starting pitcher is designated for assignment. As the club with the game’s worst record, they’ll have first crack at any pitcher who hits waivers. For the time being, Straily and Hess will continue to pitch alongside Andrew Cashner, John Means and Dylan Bundy, but Cashner seems like an eventual trade candidate and the O’s will likely need additional arms to safeguard against further injuries.