The Baltimore Orioles are pursuing starting pitching help, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal notes the Orioles have scouted Chicago Cubs starters Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, though Baltimore may be a better trade fit for Arizona Diamondbacks lefty Joe Saunders.
While Orioles relievers are currently leading the league in ERA (2.36), their starting staff ranks 24th in the majors in that category (4.49). Many analysts believe that if the Orioles hope to continue their winning ways their starters will have to improve.
Off-season additions Jason Hammel (2.87 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) and Wei-Yin Chen (3.36 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) have been solid this year, but returning starters Brian Matusz (4.94 ERA, 1.59 WHIP), Tommy Hunter (5.58 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) and Jake Arrieta (5.89 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) have all struggled with consistency.
Rosenthal reported last week that the Orioles could be targeting a more established pitcher to add to their young rotation. Dempster, Garza and Saunders would fit that description.
Dempster, 35, has been the best performer of the trio this season but also has the highest salary of the three, as he’s earning $14 million in 2012, the final year of his deal. Over his 12 starts, the right-hander has maintained an ERA and WHIP of 2.11 and 1.012.
Saunders, 31, is also set to hit the free agent market following the season. The veteran left-hander has maintained an ERA and WHIP of 3.44 and 1.383 over his 13 starts and 81 innings pitched and is earning $6 million this season.
Garza, who’s been tied to nearly all of the American League East teams this season, has an unspectacular ERA of 4.04 but a solid WHIP of 1.121. The 28-year-old is earning $9.5 million this season, has another year of eligibility remaining and can reach free agency following the 2013 campaign.