Dan Duquette is on the record saying two things regarding the Baltimore Orioles Hot Stove season. First, Chris Davis is a top priority. Second, Duquette wants to add a “frontline” starting pitcher, whatever that means. Realistically speaking, the Orioles have no shot at the top two free agents — David Price and Zack Greinke. The Orioles already have a lemon on their hands in Ubaldo Jimenez, so Johnny Cueto is probably out too, as it’s difficult to envision the Orioles being comfortable with the level of risk that would come with Cueto. It’s clear the Orioles are not really hunting for a true “frontline” ace, but rather a number two or three masquerading as an ace on a middling staff.
Assuming Wei-Yin Chen is gone, that leaves the Orioles with a rotation of Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Ubaldo Jimenez, and some hodgepodge of Tyler Wilson, Miguel Gonzalez, and Mike Wright. A staff that was one of the worst in the league last year will lose its most consistent arm, and replace him with Wilson or Wright, both mid-level prospects who are probably better off pitching in the bullpen. Duquette has his work cut out for him. The market for mid-level starting pitchers this winter is fairly thick, and the Orioles stand a good chance at landing someone who could upgrade their rotation, but who?
Here are five potential free-agent starters for the Orioles to realistically consider this winter.