BY TYLER BYRUM
Coming into the 2017 season, the Baltimore Orioles are looking to build off a Wild Card appearance last year that ended in disappointment.
In the off-season the team needed to address numerous issues along their roster, especially the team’s starting pitching. Without any major moves during the winter, the Orioles will start the season with the 24th best starting rotation in the majors according to USA Today.
Last year the team’s rotation was not that great and a majority of them are returning to the squad this season. Behind Kevin Gausman (3.61 ERA) and Chris Tillman (3.77), the remaining six regular starters averaged a 5.35 ERA. Only one of those pitchers had a sub 5.00 ERA and that was right-hander Dylan Bundy (4.02).
He started the season primarily as a reliever but towards the end of the year he was consistently in the five-man rotation. In the games he started, the right-handed pitcher finished with a 8-5 record. None of the other starters, excluding Chris Tillman, finished the season with a winning record.
Based on essentially no pitching moves by the organization, it appears that the 24-year-old Bundy will be called on to be the third man in the rotation.
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The next rotation spot is lining up for Wade Miley, a starting pitcher the Orioles acquired last season from the Seattle Mariners. Starting in 11 games for Baltimore he only registered two wins.
Leaving only one rotation slot open, returner’s Ubaldo Jimenez, Tyler Wilson, and Mike Wright will be fighting for the spot. Jimenez, who gave up the homerun that ended the 2016 campaign against the Toronto Blue Jays, initially looks to be one of the pitchers to fill in.
While the free agent class was not stellar this off-season, it included two World Series champions Jason Hammel and Edinson Volquez. Other notable free agents were Ivan Nova, R.A. Dickey, and Rich Hill.
Of all the minor transactions the team made in the past three months only one pitcher, Tomo Ohka, has notable experience as a starting pitcher. He turns 41 in March.