Feb. 11 is just five days away. The first notable date for baseball fans and players alike, the day pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.
Manager Buck Showalter will have plenty of choices when it comes time to create a starting rotation for the Baltimore Orioles. Aside from possibly Jair Jurrjens, the O’s starting staff will be full of familiar faces from last season.
In 2012, the Orioles had eight different pitchers start more than 10 games. Showalter would probably prefer a healthier 2013 season for his rotation.
Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen are two pitchers for Baltimore that have spots to lose and not earn. Hammel, who began the 2012 season pitching 26 innings with an ERA of just 1.73, had an excellent first half of the season before having arthroscopic knee surgery on July 16. Chen meanwhile was the only Orioles starter to win more than 10 games as he pitched in a full 32 start season.
Along with Hammel and Chen there are several possible candidates to fill out the Orioles rotation:
One last point of interest is the status of free agent Kyle Lohse. The veteran-sinkerballer accumulated a record of 16-3 with a miniscule ERA of 2.86 in 2012. Lohse, a 34-year old who has played with the St. Louis Cardinals since 2008, is still on the free agent market. His agent, Scott Boras, is notorious for asking for top dollar prices for his client and the Orioles would not only have to pay him the rumored $10 million asked, but also surrender their first-round pick of the draft.
The competition between pitchers will begin heating up as Spring Training begins. Last season nobody expected Hammel to win the wide open ace role of the O’s rotation. Now the 2013 rotation might be just as wide open.