Guest Post by Cody Colston. You can follow him at @The_OtherCody.

“The Orioles need an ace to be a contender.”

If you’re an Orioles fan, you have heard the above statement or any other variations since last season ended until now. “Experts” have claimed the Orioles need a front-of-the-line starter to make a push in the playoffs, stating that “You need a starter that can win Games 1 and 5 for you.” But do they really?
Chris Tillman - Orioles rotaionRight now the rotation consists of Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Jason Hammel, Zach Britton, and, probably, Kevin Gausman. If you ask me, if replace Zach Britton with a healthy Wei-Yin Chen, that is a winning rotation. Tillman has finally found himself and is debatably the best pitcher on hand, with a 10-2 record and 3.68 ERA in 17 starts. Gonzalez, 6-3 record, 3.77 ERA, 14 starts. Hammel had a rough start of the season, but his ERA been on a steady decline the whole month and is down 5.09 and seems to be getting back to 2012 form. Chen, before going on the DL with an oblique injury, had an ERA of 3.04, the best on the team. The fifth rotation spot has been a toss-up but Gausman seems to have all but won the spot after coming into the New York game as a reliever and tossing a scoreless 4 and 1/3 innings and looking absolutely filthy. It’s not like the pitching has to win it for the O’s either, with the offense scoring an average of 4.94 run per game. What have they added, though?

The Orioles just swapped Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop for Scott Feldman. Feldman, a 3.46 ERA in 15 starts, is a solid back-end-of-the-rotation starter and has pitched in multiple playoff games, very similar to Joe Saunders last year, but can pitch out of the bullpen but don’t be surprised if that is where he ends up. Arrieta needed a change of scenery and probably wouldn’t start again for the O’s but may have gotten moved to the bullpen. Strop, while had a great season last year, has struggled with command and had no options to be sent down and work on it. Jair Jurjjens, a 2011 All-Star, was signed to minor league deal with the Orioles after being released by the Braves due to injury problems, he’s made one start and one relief appearance for the O’s and if he comes back to 2011 form he would be a steal. Freddy Garcia, the 36 year old veteran, held a spot in the rotation for some time but was sent down in favor of Gausman due to consistency problem, he makes a great spot starter/emergency reliever. Feldman is the only established starter though, so, what can they add?

The list of starting pitchers connected to the O’s is a long one; Bud Norris, Scott Diamond, Ricky Nolasco, Edinson Volquez and Matt Garza, to name a few. Norris has a 3.35 ERA on the year, but pitches in a pitchers park and has a 5.02 ERA on the road, which probably won’t transfer to the hitters’ haven that is Camden and he won’t come cheap with Astros looking to build their future. Diamond has a 5.40 ERA in 14 starts, also pitches in a pitchers park and we have better pitchers in our system in Freddy Garcia and Jair Jurjjens, unless he would come back to 2012 form when he had a 3.54 ERA. Nolasco has a 3.93 ERA in 17 starts and Marlins have a high asking price for him and supposedly other teams are interested, he’s also a middle-of-the-rotation guy, not an “ace”, so no dice. Volquez has a 5.50 ERA in 17 starts and has been linked to the O’s many times because the Padres are looking to add younger pitching but, again, we have other pitchers better than him, so he doesn’t seem worth it.

Then there’s Garza, probably the best pitcher of the bunch, has a 3.83 ERA in 8 starts after coming off a stress fracture in his pitching elbow, an immediate red flag. He also hasn’t pitched a full season since 2011 but has proven he can pitch in the AL East after his 3 year stint with the Rays and will not come cheap, another problem. Also, Cliff Lee isn’t available YET, the Phillies still believe they are a contender, so he won’t be available until the trade deadline if the Phillies believe they are out of it, until then, stop calling in to 105.7 The Fan and asking for him.

Whatever the case may be, a true “ace” isn’t available in the trade market, but, in my opinion, they don’t need one. Gausman and Bundy are slotted to become the future 1-2 combo in the rotation, “aces”, if you will. The rotation, as of now though, is built to contain offenses, not shut them down, and it’s been doing that as of late and why fix what isn’t broke? As long as the O’s bats’ don’t go quiet; this rotation can help win a championship, as is.

About The Author

Cody Colston is an aspiring sports journalist that tries to brighten up a reader's day. He's a born and bred Baltimore sports fan that also loves the Washington Capitals and Wizards. He co-hosts the Between Two Birds podcast with Connor Guercio.


  1. I agree it’s a nice rotation to get to the playoffs , but it’s not football where the old adage is ‘just get there’,,,,,,,,,,,,in a short series , if you put any of this collection of a two, three’s and fours against a true Ace , you probablt will lose,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,not all the time but the odds are against you,in two of the five games and three of the seven,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,that is the way it is , and when your owner says he will not pay for a top pitcher top pitch once every five days your chances of winning a world series is not very good,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    • But it’s not about salary right now. Tell me a single pitcher who is a free agent right now today that we could pay a huge salary to have them come pitch for us and beat Verlander or CC. There are none because we are in the middle of the season. Complain about Angelos not paying somebody in the off season when it’s a possibility.

      Right NOW, TODAY, there is no way to get an ace unless you trade for one and the Orioles don’t have enough pieces that they can afford to give up in order to make that trade.

      • I have complained about Angelos in the off season for several years,,,,,,,,,,,,when I saw the young group of position players they were gathering I called for an Ace then and still do,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I have not changed my tune , the O’s needed an Ace before and they do now but the owner will not pay for one,,,,,,,end of discussion…………….

        • anonymous hippopotamus

          How does the owner go about paying for one in the middle of a season?

          • Well, I mean, there ARE a ton of aces who aren’t currently on teams: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Mike Mussina…

          • Guys like hippo and nick just don’t get it,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,an Ace isn’t happening according to Angelos , that doesn’t change the fact the O’s need one very badly to compete in a short series,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,if your little brains cannot understand this simple part of the O’s reality then there is no hope for you,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,too bad as a few of your comments almost made sense……………………..

          • spy, everyone agrees the O’s need an Ace.

            I ask again, who is this elusive pink unicorn you speak of and how do we get him?

            I’ve asked over and over and you have yet to respond.

            What Ace should they go after and what trade can they put together to get him?

            Would you agree that the Os minor league system still needs care and feeding? How then do you deplete this system and get an Ace?

            Who is the Ace you speak of and how do you propose to get him?

            I’m waiting.

  2. Yes I feel we need an ace, tired of hearing prospects all the time, and by the way we need a good hitter behind Chris Davis, Weiters isnot the player

    • John – You do know the Orioles are #1 or #2 in most offensive categories, right?

      • Good pitching stops good hitting almost every time , are you old enough to remember the O’s vs Reds in the series or the O’s sv the dodgers in that one , the name of the game in a short series is pitching,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I’m sorry , I think I may be repeating myself…………………..Go O’s…………..

  3. What happens when we get to the playoffs? We had a pretty good offense last year, and in the playoffs stopped scoring or scoring when it’s important. I feel a middle of the pack rotation with hitting like ours will get us to the playoffs, but not so confident when we are in the playoffs.

    • Bright man…………….

    • How did the “Ace” CC Sabathia and #2 Kuroda do in the playoffs versus the Tigers?

      It’s all about who gets hot. An “Ace” gurantees nothing.

      • It’s all about increasing your odds in a short series,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and the odds are , if you have a legitimate Ace , he will pitch twice in a five game series and three times in a seven game series and this increases your odds of winning,,,,,,,,,,but there are guarantees , that’s why people bet on games and it makes it interesting,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  4. Of course, the Orioles need another starter … a #1 or #2 starter. Right now, the O’s have quite a few starters. Unfortunately, they are all very average. Hammel and Feldman are decent, but not the kind of pitchers that are going to get a team into the playoffs and beyond. If the O’s expect to make it to the post-season and have any success, they need a couple of VERY solid major league caliber starting pitchers. However, there remains one major hurdle … unless they’re prepared to give up a top-flight everyday player, of which they have few if any, they can’t expect to get a top-flight starter in return. Sad perhaps, but true.

    • The Ace should have been picked up as a free agent when one was available,,,,,,,,,,,,this should have been done when the organization started to see the young guns and position players were coming along ,,,,,,they knew they would be good and also knew they didn’t have that Ace,,,,,,,,if they really wanted to win the whole thing Angelos would have brought one in but he didn’t and he doesn’t………………………

      • Who? Which Ace? This pink unicorn you speak of is highly coveted by ALL teams. Who is this Ace free agent?

        Greinke had no desire to pitch in the AL East and stated that.

        Who is the Ace they should have gotten in last year’s free agent pool?

        AND, I thought you said they needed a #4 hitter?!?! Then I said they had Davis. Then you said “They didn’t know he was good”. But now you say “they knew they would be good”.

        You’re all over the place, spy.

  5. Exactly Pete. It’d be great to have an Ace, but the Birds don’t currently have the players to land one.

  6. Cody Colston is a dreamer if he thinks the O’s can win a championship with its current collection of starting pitchers. Yes, they have a pretty solid offense but let’s not get carried away. They’re not exactly the ’27 Yankees and their approach to hitting resembles their batting coach’s own major league profile. Jim Presley had absolutely no idea how to work the count and he fanned 4 times for every free pass he managed to get. That kind of approach to hitting lends itself to some very prolonged slumps and isn’t conducive to long-term success.

  7. “It is what it is.” I hear that all the time. The O’s rotation is the O’s rotation. The organization isn’t betting the future of this team (prospects) for a shot at going far in the playoffs this season. They will compete which is better than it has been for a while but in the end they don’t have the horses to win the race. Doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the team and their never give up attitude.

    • The organization is happy with being competive and getting money from the fans for the Angelos trust fund,,,,,,,,,,,,if you are ok with this , fine , but some fans want to go for the gold because that’s what sports were designed for……………….

  8. I assume the organization doesn’t see the pitcher they feel will get them to the gold this season so they will hold their cards and see what transpires during the off season. When an organization has been run into the ground, the turnaround normally takes more than one or two year to reverse.

    You should be happy with competitive baseball for a year or so before you start demanding championships. The way baseball is set up, the haves have a distinct advantage and being a middle market team is diffiicult getting to the WS. Maybe you should take up basket weaving or crochet to calm your nerves down.

    Also I think sports were designed to have fun. Its the corporate aspect that has turned it into something it wasn’t meant to be. Also crazy fans whose weeks have been ruined because of one baseball game. Enjoy it when the team is doing well, let it go when things aren’t so good, lifes too short.

    • Nice comments Pole,,,,,,,,,,I do enjoy the O’s for the first time in fourteen years , remember ,,,,,,,,,,,,,sports are fun when you are a youth but MLB is a business and it’s all about making money , they lucked into a decent team and now they have to pay the piper to stay competitive if they want to continually draw fans to the ballpark,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I believe they will keep most of their players but a few will go for the gold with other teams when they can,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Angelos is to cheap to keep this team together so enjoy it while you can,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and no way Angelos springs for an Ace to win a world championship for the fans , he doesn’t need it and doesn’t care what the fans think of him,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      • Again, the “Pink Unicorn” Ace from spy.

        Still nary a word for him on who this supposed Ace is…

        • Again , you have not paid attention to spy , he is wise and you should do so. He has stated his solution several times , it just that the O’s have missed the boat because they were hemming and hawling when they should have picked up an Ace.

      • Spy… I’m glad you are enjoying the O’s. I hear your passion and can understand your frustration for the previous years.

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