4 Starting Pitchers the Orioles Should Pursue This Winter

Drew Reynolds@dreynoldsawlContributor IIIOctober 21, 2013

4 Starting Pitchers the Orioles Should Pursue This Winter

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    According to a poll in a recent article, fans of the Baltimore Orioles believe that starting pitching is by far the biggest weakness the Orioles need to address this offseason.

    Well, we didn't really need a poll to determine that, but it is the truth.

    Despite having a decent young core in Chris Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen, as well as a couple of top prospects in Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, the Birds lack the depth needed to compete with the best teams in the league.

    Even after going 85-77, Orioles starting pitching only ranked 12th in the AL with a 4.57 ERA last season.

    Fans have clamored about signing a true "ace" nearly every offseason in recent memory. However, just like every other year, it's unlikely the O's will sign a top starter.

    Still, there are a few starting pitchers out there that the Orioles could go after who would fit nicely in their rotation and wouldn't be overly expensive.

    Here are four starting pitchers the O's should pursue this offseason.

Bronson Arroyo

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    The Orioles have had issues in recent years with starting pitching durability. The Birds were only 11th-best in the AL in innings pitched by starting pitchers in 2013, and only Chris Tillman made more than 30 starts and pitched 200-plus innings for the team.

    Bronson Arroyo has made 30-plus starts every year since 2005 and has pitched more than 200 innings every year since then, except in 2011, where he was limited to only 199.0 innings.

    That's still pretty durable.

    Other than his poor 2011 season, Arroyo has been a pretty solid pitcher over the past decade and has a career 4.19 ERA, as well as 138 wins.

    He might cost more than the Orioles really want to pay, and he did allow the most home runs in the NL last year, but the Orioles need a pitcher who can stay healthy and eat up some innings, and Bronson Arroyo can do both.

Paul Maholm

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    After a hot start to the 2013 campaign, Paul Maholm's free-agency stock plummeted as the season wore on, as he was only able to post a 5.73 ERA after the All-Star break.

    While that may be a bad thing for Maholm, as his payday has assuredly decreased in value, the Orioles are now more likely to be interested, as he is now more in their price range.

    In nine major league seasons split between mostly Atlanta and Pittsburgh, Maholm has put together a pretty decent resume. In 243 appearances, Maholm is 76-95 with a 4.28 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP.

    He's not a top-of-the-line starter Orioles fans are desperate for, but he would provide much-needed depth.

Matt Garza

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    The Orioles were connected to Matt Garza during the 2013 trade deadline, but ultimately, due to high demands from the Cubs, the Orioles passed and Garza was sent to Texas.

    Well, now the Orioles can get a pitcher they wanted without giving up any top prospects.

    In eight major league seasons, Garza is 67-67 with a 3.84 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP, which gives him arguably one of the best resumes in free agency.

    That being said, the 29-year-old is likely going to be expensive. Whether or not that scares the Orioles away is unknown, but Garza would fit nicely in the Birds' rotation.

Ervin Santana

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    After a mediocre 2012 season with the Angels that resulted in him being traded to Kansas City at season's end, Ervin Santana had one of his best seasons of his career in 2013.

    While the wins weren't there, as he only finished with a 9-10 record, Santana posted a 1.14 WHIP and a career best 3.24 ERA.

    The 30-year-old has struggled with consistency over his career, but if he can avoid the home run ball and keep the walks limited, he's the closest thing to a top-of-the-line starter the Orioles could possibly get this offseason.

    Whether or not the the Orioles will be interested is another question. After making $13 million last season despite pitching poorly in 2012, it would only make sense to see Santana get a raise after his 2013 performance.