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Lack Of Coherent Pitching Philosophy Has Hindered Orioles

December 28, 2017
The situation the Orioles find themselves in is really becoming more and more irritating -- mainly because the planning has proven flawed. But it didn't have to be this way. The true last hurrah of the 2014 season is now light years behind us.

After suffering through 14 years of miserable baseball, former executive Andy MacPhail, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter built baseball relevance in a city that has become accustomed to doing things the right way. Folks in the industry called it The Oriole Way.

Now, The Oriole Way stands for something far less flattering. It's not because of some evil person running the organization. No, much to my evolving world view, the only evil thing going on in Birdland is the flawed pitching philosophy. 

Throughout the last six-to-seven years, owner Peter Angelos has stepped to the plate nicely in funding the organization's attempt to put a better and more sustainable product on the field. Yet this lack of a coherent approach to developing pitching has exposed the entire game plan as flawed.

Duquette looks and looks for quality pitching, yet it is becoming increasingly more likely that the talent he's looking for isn't going to end up in Baltimore. 

Entering the New Year, the club has only two legitimate starting pitchers, a closer with an Achilles injury and a host of reasons it can't come to terms with any improvements.

At this point in his Orioles career, it's got to be painful for Duquette to look at the names Eduardo Rodriguez, Josh Hader, Zach Davies and Parker Bridwell and juxtapose them against Bud Norris, Travis Snider, Gerardo Parra and a brilliant two months of Andrew Miller. 

Norris, Snider, Parra and Miller were all here for short stints, and other than Miller, they didn't really live up to expectations. 

Let's take a look at what the team lost in the process:

Davies, a right-hander, has gone 31-18 for the Milwaukee Brewers over the last three seasons while pitching to a 3.91 ERA and 1.29 WHIP.

As a rookie with the Brewers last season, Hader, a lefty, recorded 68 strikeouts, a 2.08 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 47.2 innings.

Bridwell, a right-hander who left this past season just because he was out of options, went 10-3 in 20 starts with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim while recording a 3.64 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over 121 innings.

Rodriguez, a lefty given up to the Red Sox in the Miller acquisition, is 19-20 in his three seasons in Boston. And with several injuries behind him now, his 4.23 ERA and 1.29 WHIP would look awfully good with Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. 

Coming off a season in which the Orioles' starting pitchers tallied a 5.70 ERA, this topic is especially raw.

Now, word is that Manny Machado could move to shortstop and Tim Beckham would go … where exactly? To utility infielder? The Orioles traded talented pitching prospect Tobias Myers -- who at 19 threw 56 innings for a 3.54 ERA with 73 strikeouts in the minor leagues during 2017 -- for Beckham. You don't trade a prospect like Myers for a fringe, utility infielder.

Like I said, The Oriole Way now means something far less flattering than it did when the baseball world admired the way the Orioles did business. 

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox