Subscribe: Camden Depot
http://camdendepot.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade A rated
Language:
Tags:
jones  machado  manny machado  manny  orioles  pitcher  player  players  rotation  season  starting  team  time  year  years 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Camden Depot

Camden Depot



Baltimore Orioles Affiliate in ESPN's Sweetspot Network



Updated: 2017-12-16T17:28:18.705-05:00

 



The Case for Holding onto Machado and Letting Him Walk

2017-12-15T12:30:27.588-05:00

The Orioles do a wonderful job of ignoring multiple problems until they fly up and bite them on the butt.  While the club has done an amazing job taking MacPhail's core and supplementing them with the right players to build a very successful mini-dynasty (that holds only one trophy that was limited to AL East heroics), there have been many glaring issues that they have been unable to resolve.  Pitching depth has been an ever present concern, but that never made Duquette think twice about dealing it out even in the case of Andrew Miller when he really was not needed.  Corner outfield has been a place of need, but the club has done peculiar things such as bringing in Travis Snider at an amazing cost or putting Mark Trumbo out there.  We could go on and on, but we will get to the point of this post.Manny Machado presented a terribly frustrating problem.  I went into some detail on this last January and noted that right then and there was the time to either extend Machado or trade him.  Neither of those things happened.  This offseason, it appears the Orioles are more aware that Machado is not remaining and something needs to be done about it.  While the interest in Machado is great, his 17.3 MM projected salary and his single remaining year of control have diminished his value.  Based on what I hear, the most any team has offered has been a single top 100 player and a couple lower tier players.To put this into a more tangible framework, I will use the White Sox as an example here.  Keep in mind, that what I know has nothing to do with the White Sox, so do not take this as a definitive scoop.  A similar White Sox deal would be:Alec Hansen, RHSP (fringe top 100 prospect, upper minors)Carson Fulmer, RHSP (Rookie, major concerns)Jake Burger, 3B (draftee, long road to go)The above package would likely disappoint folks. To put it in Oriolese, It is like being offered Chorye Spoone, Radhames Liz, and Billy Rowell if it were 2008.  It would be in the neighborhood of a 40 MM value coming back.  That would be on point value for Machado, but not value that you would expect from a club that really, really, really loved. him.  As you can imagine, a package like that can easily go bust and may well not be all that different from what one could expect in a mid-season deal if the Orioles fall out of contention.A mid-season deal presents some advantages and disadvantages.  On the advantage side, only about 9 MM of Manny's salary will come into play at that point.  While 10 teams right now have some interest in Manny, a lot of that interest in muted by that pricetag.  Halfway into the season and teams may have enough payroll space with ownership approval, have an unflattering contract to hand back, or the Orioles may be more willing to swallow some of the cost.The cost angle is truly something to consider if you are running the franchise.  Based on the past twenty years, I have identified several "fire sales".  The first one on the board was the Marlins implosion after 1997's World Series and the most recent is the 2012 triumvirate of the Philles, Red Sox, and Marlins all letting their players depart in the winds.  Some other clubs in this data set include the 2000 Orioles, 2007 Twins, and 2011 Astros, just to give you a flavor.  On average, this group saw a decrease of 18% in attendance after trading out significant players the year before.  Best case scenario was that 2008 Twins team where no difference was observed, but most teams saw a drop in the twenties.For the Orioles, their 2017 attendance was 2.028 million.  An 18% drop would take them to 1.663 million, or a loss of roughly 365,000 tickets.  Using the fan index, each lost ticket is worth around $46 in revenue.  In other words, if Manny Machado departs and the fan base sees this as a fire sale, then the Orioles are projected to lose 16.8 MM in revenue just from fan attendance.  This does not include the current renegotiation of partners with MASN where th[...]



A Quick Rebuild

2017-12-15T07:38:31.395-05:00

It appears as though the Orioles are admitting what many have suspected for several years: Manny Machado will not be an Oriole long term. Indeed, the chatter during the Winter Meetings has begun to make it clear that, rather than sticking with their original plan to run it back for one more year in 2018, the team is considering a rebuild, with trade rumors concerning Machado, Zach Britton, and Brad Brach dominating the offseason headlines.This is, sadly, the correct choice. Even with Machado, it seems unlikely that the Orioles were going to be legitimate contenders in 2018, and Machado could still command a good haul in prospects even as a rental. If Machado goes, there's not much reason to keep around guys like Britton, either, and as a result the Orioles could improve their farm system fairly dramatically in the course of one off season.Total rebuilds are very much in fashion in MLB these days. Both the Cubs and Astros went through multiple miserable seasons before their young cores coalesced and won championships, and teams like the Yankees, Twins, and Padres are looking to follow in those footsteps. It seems logical, given the budgetary constraints under which the Orioles operate as well as the team's declining performance, that the Orioles would go this same route. Of course, Peter Angelos has long been opposed to a complete teardown, and before this week there was little indication that Dan Duquette would execute one.Now, though, that calculus seems to have changed, but in a pretty interesting way. At the same time they are discussing trading one of the top 10 players in franchise history, there are also rumors that the Orioles are pursuing Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy. This would, certainly, be an odd move to make under the circumstances, as you generally don't trade for a veteran starting pitcher in the middle of a rebuild. Of course, maybe they don't HAVE to tear it all down. In fact, an interesting path would be to punt on 2018 while gearing up for a big run in 2019 and beyond. Let's assume that Machado, Brach, and Britton are all dealt, and they bring back at least 1-2 MLB ready players along with higher upside prospects that aren't likely to be immediate contributors. The Orioles would certainly prefer that one of those players is a starting pitcher and if they somehow acquire Duffy, the 2018 rotation looks already a good deal better than 2017, with all the major components under team control until at least 2020.You may have heard, but the 2018 free agent class is potentially the greatest ever, and even if the Orioles aren't competing for guys like Machado, Bryce Harper, and Clayton Kershaw, there are plenty of good to great players left over. If the team has a solid rotation in place and prospects like Austin Hays, Chance Sisco, and Ryan Mountcastle are ready to make a big impact, there's a real case to be made that adding a second tier, but still big name, player like Josh Donaldson or Charlie Blackmon and pairing him up with a Gio Gonzalez/Garett Richards/Patrick Corbin type could push the team into immediate contention. These players would obviously be very costly, but with over $30 million coming off the books in the form of Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Wade Miley, the Orioles could save up and make a big splash next winter.This would be somewhat predicated on the Orioles signing Jonathan Schoop to an extension, hopefully moving Mark Trumbo's contract, and determining what to do with Adam Jones, but given the improving farm system and the jolt it would receive by trading Machado et al., as well as much lower payroll commitments, this seems like a viable path. It will certainly be hard to watch Machado playing anywhere but Oriole Park, and there's no guarantee that the young players will progress enough to make this plan viable, but it certainly beats the alternative of Machado and Britton leaving in free agency and receiving only comp picks in return. Rebuilds are always painful, but maybe this pain wouldn't have to last more than one year.[...]



The Orioles Can't Lose Machado And Contend

2017-12-15T08:00:56.871-05:00

The Orioles have developed two potential hall of fame players, Mike Mussina and Manny Machado, over the past twenty years. Mike Mussina was the Orioles ace during their last playoff run in 1996-1997, and received over 50% of total votes for the hall of fame in last year’s voting. Manny Machado has been a star for the Orioles since 2012 and is just about ready to reach his prime years as a player.Let me make something clear. For the analysis below, I’m looking only at production from 1997-2017. This means that I’m only looking at Cal Ripken’s production from 1997-2001, when he was 36, and not over his entire career. I’m not saying that Machado was the Orioles’ best player since 1997, but rather that from 2012-2017, he was more productive than Cal (or anyone else) from 1997-2001.Machado has only been an Oriole for five and a half years, but he’s been one of the Orioles best players when measuring production over the past 21 seasons.  According to Fangraphs, he’s been worth 26 fWAR as an Oriole, and only trails Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and Melvin Mora in fWAR by an Oriole position player as an Oriole. Machado is just 3 fWAR off the lead (although Jones is only .1 fWAR off the lead, and will likely be the leader by the end of 2018 if not traded), but has roughly 58% of the plate appearances that the other three players have.In other words, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to argue that Machado is on pace to be nearly twice as productive (when you consider that Machado can still get even better as he hits his prime) as the Orioles’ best position players over the past twenty years. The only Oriole over the past twenty years that has been as good as Machado according to Fangraphs has been Mike Mussina, who was worth 46.7 fWAR over nine and a half seasons. When he was 32, he left the Orioles in free agency to join the Yankees, and the Orioles didn’t make it back to the playoffs for a long time.The Orioles have had many players that they’ve hoped would turn into elite talents. Remember hearing about Matt Wieters being “Mauer with Power” when he was a prospect? Wieters was a star player for a few years, but wasn’t the franchise changing player that people thought he might become. People were dreaming about Nick Markakis after his strong 2007 and 2008 seasons, but he was unable to remain elite and now should be seen as nothing more than a good but not great player.The Orioles have developed a number of starting pitcher prospects who were legitimately hoped to become aces. Some have been successful starters for a time, like Gausman, Bundy and Tillman, but the one that truly became a top of the rotation pitcher was only successful as a Cub. The Orioles have been waiting a long time for an elite player like Machado.The Orioles haven’t had as talented as a player as Machado since Mussina, and he’s still only 25 (turns 26 in July). In theory, if the Orioles were able to extend him, he could be the best player on the Orioles for the next ten years. A player like this doesn’t come around often in free agency and especially not when he’s just 26. So, of course, we’ve discovered this week that the Orioles don’t think that they’re able to extend Machado and are therefore looking to trade him.It’s even more frustrating since the Orioles show they understand that free agency isn’t where they’re going to find excellent talent. Dan Duquette has noted that signing pitchers to four-year deals hasn’t worked out for the Orioles and doesn’t really work out for other teams either. The Orioles understand that trying to build their team with free agents is simply going to be expensive and disappointing. The problem is that if teams are not going to build their team with top free agents, then they need to use cash to extend their own talent. If the Orioles think they can’t win with Machado taking up a quarter or even a third of their payroll, then they’ll soon discover how difficult it is to win with Brian Roberts Jonathan Schoop as thei[...]



The 29 Trades of Manny Machado (NL East edition)

2017-12-15T07:27:07.502-05:00

Yesterday, the news appeared to break that the Orioles will now listen intently on what other teams are willing to offer him. The post will simply look at Machado's value and see how every other club would match up without really considering whether or not they want or could afford Manny. Machado is currently projected as a 6.9 WAR player, which is roughly worth about 56 MM in value. This is an underpriced value because a premium would be placed on a player that can give this level of performance while only occupying one slot in the lineup. That extra value probably ups his true Market price to around 70-75 MM.

However, Manny has to be paid and that cuts down the value of that 70 MM valuation. He is expected to earn 17 MM in arbitration, so that cuts his value down to 53-58 MM. It has been reported that the Orioles are asking for two starting caliber players, so that will be a major limitation on any deal. Anyway, here we go with this issue in which we focus on the NL East:

Philadelphia Phillies
J.P. Crawford, SS
Scott Kingery, 2B
Drew Anderson, RHSP
The Phillies have curiously been a name frequently connected to Machado. The club is populated with Orioles refugees, so they are well aware of the older parts of the system. However, they do not exactly seem ready to take on teams like the Nationals. Regardless, they could offer a few pieces. J.P. Crawford could step in now as a shortstop and Scott Kingery would be a potentially capable second baseman. Anderson is a viable pitcher who could be thrown into the fifth slot competition.

New York Mets
Ahmed Rosario, SS
Chris Flexen, RHSP
The Mets are not a great fit. Rosario would be an obvious choice, but then things fall apart from there. Perhaps they would seek out Chris Flexen and press him into a starter's role. Not sure what else would really make much sense. Maybe Brandon Nimmo if Mark Trumbo departs somewhere.

Miami Marlins
This one really seems like a waste of everyone's time.

Washington Nationals
Joe Ross, RHSP
A.J. Cole, RHSP
Carter Kieboom, SS
The Nats, after dealing out prospects left and right, no longer have many mid tier near MLB ready talents in their system anymore. For the Orioles to reach their two starters request, they would have to sink their teeth into the highly questionable pair of Ross and Cole who have delighted and tormented Washington fans. Some value would be left over, I think, where a fringe top 100 talent like low level SS Carter Kieboom would fit nicely in the Orioles' system, but be several years away.

Atlanta Braves
Kolby Allard, LHSP
Mike Soroka, RHSP
This would be a rough pair for Atlanta to give up. Perhaps add in Nick Markakis and maybe that primes the pump a bit. Allard and Soroka at potential top 50 arms and have done well in the upper minors. Neither of them are definitive mid-rotation mainstays, but they could be. The Orioles would likely be happy to have them both in the fold.



Is There a Potential Bad Contract Swap With the Giants?

2017-12-14T04:28:07.916-05:00

The Orioles may have waited too long to put Manny Machado on the trade block, but several teams are jumping at the chance to acquire him now. According to Bob Nightengale, the O's have received more than a dozen offers and could be nearing a deal soon:
Like it or not, that’s probably the best Orioles can hope for this offseason.



Jayson Aquino - Former Rockie, Blue Jay, Pirate, Indian, Cardinal, Oriole (?)

2017-11-20T06:00:29.361-05:00

Joe Reisel's ArchivesIn every season Jayson Aquino has spent with a full-season team, he's been charged with ten or more losses. Photo courtesy of Steven Goldburg / Norfolk TidesIn a recent Depot article, Jon dismissed most of the 2017 Norfolk Tides starting pitchers as "a decent collection of AAA workhorses, but not exactly a [group from which]you feel comfortable bringing more than one player up." Having watched 52 Tides games at Norfolk's Harbor Park in 2017, I more or less agree with that statement, although I think it a little harsh. Gabriel Ynoa rebounded from a truly dreadful first half with an impressive second half, and I would like to see what he could do as a fifth starter. Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright have each pitched around 140 major-league innings. While that's probably not enough to prove that they can't be major-league pitchers (see 2009-2011 Chris Tillman), they've pitched poorly enough that they will only get another chance out of desperation (see 2012 Chris Tillman.) Most of the other pitchers the Tides trotted out to start games are, indeed, AAA roster filler.With one exception. At age 20, Jayson Aquino was a top-ten prospect in the Colorado Rockies' system, upon which he went a combined 0-10 for Tri-Cities (short-season Class A) and Asheville (Class A.) Since then, he's been a fringy prospect, occasionally appearing toward the bottom of top-30 prospect lists and bouncing from team to team, ending up with the Orioles before the 2016 season. He spent most of 2016 at Bowie before getting a late-season promotion to Norfolk; overall, he pitched well enough to be in the 2017 Norfolk rotation.In the aggregate, Aquino didn't pitch well. Neither his basic stats (3-10 record, 4.24 ERA, 41/89 BB/K ratio in 115 innings) nor more analytical measures (as detailed by Jon in his article) are impressive. However, in the 8 games I saw Aquino pitch I saw enough to suggest that he might be a usable major-league pitcher - not a star, not necessarily even a key member of a staff, but someone who could give a team 20 starts of acceptable performance. It's important to realize that we're not looking for perfection out of Aquino's starts, but merely reasonably good performance.April 14 vs Charlotte - 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 SOThere's nothing negative about this performance at all. In the third inning, Aquino gave up two singles with one out but got Yoan Moncada to ground into a double play. The Knights scored their run in the fourth when Logan Schafer committed an error on an inning-ending fly ball that allowed Ryan Raburn to score from first. (The Tides' official scorer is more inclined than I to call borderline plays hits, rather than errors.) Aquino gave up a leadoff double in the fifth inning but stranded the runner at second base.May 5 vs. Durham - 7 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 SOThis game is the first suggestion that there's more to Aquino than is apparent from the year-end summay line. In the second inning, Aquino gave up four runs to the Bulls on a walk, three singles, a sacrifice fly, and a double. .But he retired all nine batters he faced in the third, fourth, and fifth. In the sixth, he did give up a run on a walk, a swinging-bunt groundout, and a single. But in the seventh, he walked the first batter before picking him off and getting two groundouts. It's impressive that he righted himself after a bad inning and ended up with a line that isn't terrible. (That second inning raised his season ERA from 3.96 to 4.24.)May 18 vs. Charlotte - 5 2/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 1 SONot a good performance. He gave up a walk and home run to the first two batters and put at least one man on base in almost every inning after that. But only one other run resulted from all those runners, as Aquino (and reliever Paul Fry, who finished the sixth inning) stranded eight Knights. If one is looking for a silver lining, the fact that the Knights had twelve baserunners (one reached on an err[...]



The Orioles Are Interested In Being Interested

2017-11-19T10:30:59.142-05:00

One constant among nearly every MLB offseason is that the Orioles are going to be interested in lots of players. That has no bearing on whether they'll actually follow through, of course. The O's are the department store customer who's not only just browsing, but who really has no desire to purchase anything that's not on the discount rack. If you're familiar with the pros and cons of free agency, that's not a horrible strategy. Still, the annual charade can be exhausting (though mildly amusing).

Just check out which players the Orioles are reportedly "interested in" in the past couple weeks:
There will be more. Still, it makes sense that the Orioles would have interest in the tier of starting pitchers under Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. Even though O's ownership likely wouldn't be thrilled with another four-year deal near or above the $50 million it took to sign Ubaldo Jimenez, if they want to bring aboard the services of Cobb or Lynn or maybe even Chatwood, it could take something close.

The Orioles always cast a wide net in their free agent search, but it's one that's filled with holes. Dan Duquette would probably tell you the O's target potential bargains who slip through the cracks; as O's fans have learned, those players often slip through for a reason.

The O's have found success using these strategies in the Duquette/Buck Showalter era, but they need real help in the starting rotation. Sometimes you can't get around paying what actual upgrades cost. And, well, if you do, you might end up selling Vargas and Tillman as the main upgrades to a rotation that's destined to fail again - and in perhaps the final seasons that Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and Zach Britton will be in Baltimore.



Cup of jO's: Tyler Chatwood's Batted Balls

2017-11-16T11:46:00.032-05:00

Previously, I had noted that Tyler Chatwood was a serious diamond in the rough kind of potential arm that appeared to be overlooked.  Since then, there has been a few predictions as to how much he would cost.
MLB Trade Rumors: 3/20
Dave Cameron of FanGraphs: 3/30
and, our own,
BORAS: 4/41
BORAS, of course, had some conditional prognostication.  If BORAS projected out all of his games at Coors Field as full season performances, Chatwood would be worth only a non-roster invite.  However, BORAS projected a full season on the road as being worth a six year deal at 24 MM per year.  In other words, Chatwood performed like a backend 2017 Orioles starting pitcher these past two seasons at Coors field and on the road he did an impression of a shade below Clayton Kershaw.

National writer Keith Law quibbles with that outlook:
Chatwood had much better results on the road (3.69 ERA), but it was all results on balls in play, as his walk, strikeout and home run rates were close to even, and he doesn't get left-handed hitters out anywhere.
That seems to be a bit unfair.  Let us look at performance over 2016 and 2017 against left handed hitters.
Tyler Chatwood* 212/308/383, .301 wOBA (16th of 84)
Sonny Gray 247/309/386, .301 wOBA (16th)
Danny Salazar 220/314/393, .302 wOBA (19th)
Max Scherzer 227/307/419, .312 wOBA (27th)
Yu Darvish 242/307/412, .309 wOBA (24th)
Jake Arrieta 227/325/396, .313 wOBA (29th)
Dylan Bundy 259/319/446, .326 wOBA (43rd)
Ubaldo Jimenez 293/372/559, .392 wOBA (84th)
* - Only considering performance against left handed hitter on the road.
This stellar performance should be expected.  Chatwood's curve drops a stunning 4.2 more inches when on the road and ranks as one of the highest spin rates in baseball.  A curveball with a high spin rate results in a lot of soft contact.  So, this really looks like a pitcher whose offerings improve considerably on the road in ways that can be explained with what we know about pitching.

I maintain that everyone should be clamoring for him.



How Did Adam Jones Turn Things Around?

2017-11-15T06:00:20.615-05:00

Even if you were the biggest Adam Jones fan in the world, you were still met with this fact before the start of the 2017 season: His offensive production was slipping. In pretty steady fashion, Jones's production decreased in each season since 2012 (his best offensive year):2012: 127 wRC+2013: 119 wRC+2014: 117 wRC+2015: 111 wRC+2016: 97 wRC+Data via FanGraphsAs is often the case, you could partially explain Jones's subpar 2016 numbers on injuries. In April of that season, he missed some time with a ribcage injury. Later in the year, he also missed some time with back and hamstring injuries. It's hard to know if those injuries affected him more than in other years, because he rarely seems to miss much time. In fact, Jones hasn't been on the disabled list since September of 2009, when a sprained ankle ended his season. That's hard to believe. Jones has played in at least 137 games in every season since 2009. Of course Jones gets hurt, but he just seems to deal with it and keep moving along. You know, by staying hungry.In 2017, Jones bucked the trend and increased his offensive output. His wRC+ increased by 10 points, to 107. His BABIP, a career low .280 in 2016, fortuitously jumped back up to .312. He hit three fewer home runs than the year before, but managed to hit nine more doubles.After seeing those numbers, I expected that Jones hit the ball harder in 2017. But he didn't. Let's look at some Statcast data for the last few seasons:2015: 87.7 avg. exit velocity (t-242), 176 avg. distance (t-194)2016: 88.3 avg. exit velocity (t-219), 183 avg. distance (t-146)2017: 86.6 avg. exit velocity (t-270), 167 avg. distance (t-289)Data via Baseball SavantOK, so that's a little surprising, and isn't all that encouraging.Let's keep digging. Jones still struck out in the 17-18% range, which he's done since 2015. He hit the ball on the ground a bit more than the previous season, and his fly ball percentage dipped as well (for the first time since 2013). How about his distribution of balls in play? In 2017, he pulled the ball about 41% of the time. There's nothing out of the ordinary there. But Jones didn't hit the ball up the middle as much (about 30%) and instead served the ball to right field more (about 29% of the time). It was his highest mark since 2010.So Jones didn't hit the ball harder, but he did hit it on the ground a little more and punch more balls to right field. Not hitting the ball hard and pulling the ball less isn't a great sign, but it does represent him making the most of the current abilities. His plate discipline changes also reflect that. Jones has always chased a lot of pitches, and that was still the case this past season. While he dialed back his overall swing percentage, there's something more noticeable: His contact rates improved.Picture an Adam Jones strikeout. Most likely, it involves him chasing a slider down and away. This season, though, while Jones chased just as many pitches, he made contact on 68.5% of them. In 2017, the average major league batter made contact on out-of-zone pitches 62.7% of the time (better than Jones's career average). Jones's previous-best O-Contact% of 64.3% came all the way back in 2008.Last season, Jones finished tied for 50th in O-Contact% (among all qualified batters). In 2016, Jones finished just 104th. In 2015, he was only 89th.Does all of this mean Jones is now a contact hitter? Not exactly, but he has sort of been trending in that direction and is closer to the middle of the pack. He's never walked much, and in an era when lots of hitters strike out frequently, he's a few percentage points below the major league average. That's not because he's patient, but because he'll swing early and often. And maybe he'll be able to do things like this: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="100%" scrolling="no" src="https://gfycat.com/ifr/GiganticFairLeafhopper" [...]



Orioles Should Target These Starting Pitchers for Norfolk Depth

2017-11-14T07:54:54.286-05:00

In years past, I noted how an important aspect of constructing a solid MLB roster is to have flexibility in the MLB roster where players can be shifted around to no negative effect and all to have a few guys on the farm who can step in without being a disaster.  While it may seem like the Orioles suffered with a rotating cast of starting pitchers, they really did not come from the farm.  The actual starting rotation remained fairly healthy and threw the first pitch often.  Let's look back over the years at the top three contributors to the rotation from the farm. IP FIP 2012 239 4.47 2013 132.2 5.13 2014 118.7 4.43 2015 167 3.34 2016 157.1 5.53 2017 61 4.33 Most impressive was the 2012 performance where more than one starting pitcher's worth of innings was needed to fill the void.  That year, of course, saw the emergence of Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez as legitimate rotation arms.  2015 also saw a mighty impressive performance from Kevin Gausman as the sixth arm with a 100.1 strong innings (4.00 FIP).  Seen as a whole, having a reliable 6th, 7th and even 8th pitcher is important because one or two starting pitchers is bound to get hurt enough to visit the disabled list (or having a strong supporting rotation lets a pitcher go on the DL in the first place.2017, the starting rotation was pretty much a disaster.  The club flirted around with having the worst ERA- in team history, but fell short at 129 (1991 Orioles are the worst with a 132 ERA-).  If you want a larger focus, then the 2017 starting rotation, since 1954, was the 24th worst starting rotation ever.  What might be more interesting is that it was done with an incredibly healthy starting rotation with only 61 innings needed from the farm.  While contractual obligations limited the kinds of moves the Orioles could make, it was pretty apparent that the farm offered little that was appreciably better than what the starting rotation currently employed.The short of it is, the club needs a strong AAA pitching staff.  And, well, that is not what is currently present at Norfolk. Assuming that the Orioles have Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, and three external solutions to the starting rotation, then Norfolk's current rotation looks like: Alec Asher, Jordan Kipper, David Hess, John Means, and Yefry Ramirez.  That is a decent collection of AAA workhorses, but not exactly a situation where you feel comfortable bringing more than one player up.  Asher may be needed for a bullpen role and that really leaves you with some stretches who have not shown enough performance at AAA or, even, AA to provide much confidence.With that in mind, if I ran the Orioles, I would want to add two more rotation talents whom I would have slightly more confidence in as not being complete losses at the MLB level who would be added to David Hess, Yefry Ramirez, and probably Alec Asher.  The others would work on things down at Bowie.  Existing arms like Christopher Lee and Brandon Barker would see various roles emerging from the bullpen.Minor League Free AgentsWhen I sit back and think about the kinds of pitcher to target as rotation depth, I consider a couple things.  I would want someone who is in the top half of starting pitchers at the MiL AAA level for swinging strikes and for DRA.  Second, I want them as young as possible.  That really is it.Who is on that list who is also a MiL free agent?Ryan Carpenter, LHPDavid Hurlbut, LHPDrew Hutchison, RHP Ryan Carpenter, LHP (26 yo)DRA: 2.39Swinging Strike %: 10.7%Carpenter was never considered much of a prospect.  He is a control guy who mixes in decent enough fastball, changeup, and curve.  Carpenter shines a bit more than Hurlbut and Hutchison.  While they barely made both[...]