The O's best shot at adding a top-tier starter is likely via a trade, but the club's top two trade chips -- pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman -- are reportedly "untouchable." Bundy was a safe bet to join the rotation early this summer, but elbow problems have sidelined him since March and could very well hold him out for the rest of the season. Gausman is currently blowing away the competition at Double-A, but isn't quite knocking on the door to Baltimore.
GM Dan Duquette confirmed to Heyman that the search is on for a "decent" starting pitcher:
"We've got to find some decent starting pitching,'' general manager Dan Duquette said by phone. "If you're going to be in the hunt, you're going to need better-than-average starters.''
The O's are off to a great start to the 2013 season, but they've done so largely in spite of an inconsistent and injury-plagued starting rotation. Just two of the five starters that the club broke camp with are still in the rotation: Jake Arietta was demoted to Triple-A last month, Wei-Yin Chen was placed on the disabled list Tuesday, and Miguel Gonzalez has been on the DL for two weeks.
Freddy Garcia has filled in nicely in his two spot starts, but a No. 3 starter he's not. Beyond Garcia, things get even shakier. Jair Jurrjens is scheduled to take over Chen's spot on Saturday, and Steve Johnson will start for Gonzalez next Tuesday if he's not reactivated by then. Jurrjens and Johnson have 15 big-league starts between them over the last year, and none of them have gone all that well.
Early trade rumors have swirled around guys like David Price and Cliff Lee, but it's unknown whether the Orioles have their eyes set there or elsewhere. The club is believed to have very little interest in injured Cubs right-hander Matt Garza, but that could change if he's able to pitch well in his return from the DL.
Baltimore will get some internal help when Tsuyoshi Wada returns from Tommy John surgery sometime next month, but seeing as he's coming back from a year off and has never thrown a big-league inning, the Orioles can't exactly rely on him to bolster the rotation.