While the big offseason storyline thus far for the Orioles has been their attempt to keep slugger Chris Davis, the club is also trying to fill the void in the starting rotation left by Wei-Yin Chen's likely departure.
With Chen as a free agent, the O's need a veteran to help improve the team's 4.53 starter ERA, which ranked 25th in the majors in 2015. In fact, of the eight pitchers who started for Baltimore last season, only the departing Chen had an ERA under 4.00.
But with the price for front line pitching so expensive, the Orioles will have to pick and choose their spots in the market to find good value. And according to USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale, they along with four other teams have their sights set on left hander Scott Kazmir as Chen's replacement.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 21, 2015
Kazmir, 31, went 7-10 with a 3.10 ERA between stints with the Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros in 2015, and is one year from his renaissance season where he was named to the AL All-Star team. If signed, he'd be slotted in as the lone lefty in the Orioles' rotation.
However, with the amount of other teams in the running, the question becomes how much will it take to bring Kazmir to Baltimore. Save for the re-signing of reliever Darren O'Day, the Orioles have not typically won when engaging in bidding wars with other teams for a player's services.
Do the O's have enough payroll flexibility to offer Kazmir a sizable contract?