The Orioles have been American League East contenders since 2012, making the playoffs 2 out of the last 4 years. Despite having the best hitting teams during that span, the Oriole's pitching hasn't been World Series material.
The Orioles pitching has been middle of the road at best, with a dose of inconsistency. From 2012-2015, Wei-Yin Chen seemed to be the O’s best starter, going 46-32, along with Chris Tillman who won 49 games. Even though both players had their flashes – Tillman even becoming the O’s first All-Star in 2013 since Mike Mussina – but neither were able to step into that ACE role.
While Tillman remains, Chen has departed to Miami signing with the Marlins. The O’s will receive a draft pick for Chen from the Marlins but now an already pedestrian pitching staff must find a new starter to replace their best starter.
Around the league, the O’s have been viewed as having one of the worst farm systems in the MLB, ranked 27th by Baseball America. Vice President of Baseball Operations, Dan Duquette, isn’t bothered by the low rankings, but as a fan of the O’s I have become bothered with his decisions. Allowing Chen to depart is a big of a blow, just as allowing Nelson Cruz to leave prior to the 2015 season was a huge blow.
The O’s have been on the cusp of stepping into the World Series stage, only missing a solid lights-out ACE that can produce a 20-win season. Losing Chen, who is a solid starter in any rotation could potentially set the O’s back, similar to last season.
The O’s are currently negotiating with free agent righty, Yovani Gallardo, who won 13 games with the Rangers last season. Gallardo has a career ERA of 3.66 with only one losing season during his 9-year career. If the two parties do reach a deal, the O’s would have to give up an essential #14 first round pick.
Gallardo’s numbers proves that he is a solid starter, but it also shows that he is not much above Chen. Without a solid ace, the O’s will remain in the same position they have been in the last four years.
O’s farm system has a few potential prospects that could enter the O’s bullpen, most notable being Dylan Bundy.
Bundy was the 4th overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft and was expected to be that potential ACE for the O’s, unfortunately things have not worked out that way yet. Bundy will enter spring training with no minor league options and injury problems. Bundy seen the big league in 2012 when he pitched 5 outs against the Red Sox and Blue Jays late September. Bundy is still rated as the top prospect for the O’s but it’s time for that ranking to translate into the big leagues.
Harvey Hunter is another top prospect for the O’s that has injury problems. Harvey is coming off an elbow and forearm injury but still has his minor league options. The 21-year old righty will more than likely go back to the farm after Spring Training but his number might be called in September.
Duquette has made questionable decisions with the roster in previous years but he also has made the right ones. He was able to ink deals with Matt Wieters, Darren O’ Day, and Chris Davis, unfortunately I think it is too late. The fans of Baltimore has tasted winning and is not looking for another average season. If Duquette’s roster roulette does not work this