Orioles Rumors: Matt Garza to Jason Vargas

July 7, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Jason Vargas (38) pitches against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

The Baltimore Orioles have shifted their focus from Chicago Cubs right-hander Matt Garza to Seattle Mariners left-hander Jason Vargas, reports Jayson Stark of ESPN.

Baltimore, a team clearly in need of starting pitching help, has been tied to established starters for much of the summer. Beyond Vargas and Garza, the Orioles have also been linked to Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster, Houston Astros southpaw Wandy Rodriguez and Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke.

While Baltimore’s bullpen has been one of the best in the league through the first half of the season, their starting rotation has been another story. Orioles’ starters have combined to log the league’s fifth-worst ERA (4.77) and the seventh-worst WHIP (1.37).

General manager Dan Duquette has said that he’d like an established starter to pair with Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen.

Both Garza and Vargas are under team control through the 2013 season, something that might appeal to the Orioles. While Garza sports the superior career numbers, Vargas has been a solid starter for the Mariners over the past three seasons.

In 19 starts spanning 126 innings in 2012, Vargas has posted an ERA and WHIP of 4.07 and 1.151 with 6.1 SO/9 and 2.3 BB/9. He owns a career ERA and WHIP of 4.45 and 1.318.

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Which starter should the Orioles pursue?

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