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Orioles starting rotation ranked near the bottom of MLB

Orioles starting rotation ranked near the bottom of MLB

BY TYLER BYRUM

Coming into the 2017 season, the Baltimore Orioles are looking to build off a Wild Card appearance last year that ended in disappointment. 

In the off-season the team needed to address numerous issues along their roster, especially the team’s starting pitching.  Without any major moves during the winter, the Orioles will start the season with the 24th best starting rotation in the majors according to USA Today.

Last year the team’s rotation was not that great and a majority of them are returning to the squad this season. Behind Kevin Gausman (3.61 ERA) and Chris Tillman (3.77), the remaining six regular starters averaged a 5.35 ERA. Only one of those pitchers had a sub 5.00 ERA and that was right-hander Dylan Bundy (4.02).

He started the season primarily as a reliever but towards the end of the year he was consistently in the five-man rotation. In the games he started, the right-handed pitcher finished with a 8-5 record. None of the other starters, excluding Chris Tillman, finished the season with a winning record. 

Based on essentially no pitching moves by the organization, it appears that the 24-year-old Bundy will be called on to be the third man in the rotation.

READ ALSO: Orioles projected to have a down season

The next rotation spot is lining up for Wade Miley, a starting pitcher the Orioles acquired last season from the Seattle Mariners. Starting in 11 games for Baltimore he only registered two wins.

Leaving only one rotation slot open, returner’s Ubaldo Jimenez, Tyler Wilson, and Mike Wright will be fighting for the spot. Jimenez, who gave up the homerun that ended the 2016 campaign against the Toronto Blue Jays, initially looks to be one of the pitchers to fill in.

While the free agent class was not stellar this off-season, it included two World Series champions Jason Hammel and Edinson Volquez. Other notable free agents were Ivan Nova, R.A. Dickey, and Rich Hill.

Of all the minor transactions the team made in the past three months only one pitcher, Tomo Ohka, has notable experience as a starting pitcher. He turns 41 in March.

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On the fourth anniversary of his massive contract, a look at Chris Davis' struggles

On the fourth anniversary of his massive contract, a look at Chris Davis' struggles

From 2012 to 2015, Chris Davis was one of the most feared sluggers in baseball.

He led the American League in home runs twice, won a Silver Slugger and finished third in MVP voting in 2013. His production earned him a massive seven-year, $161 million contract extension, and today, on the four-year anniversary of the agreement things have tailed off quite a bit. 

"He's been struggling now for years," Orioles GM Mike Elias said at the Winter Meetings. "There are a lot of reasons for that and we continue to look into it but the reality is, he is under contract and it's something not to take lightly, and because of that we're going to be focused on getting the most out of him that we can. But it's a very frustrating situation for him and for us."

In the 617 games before his extension, Davis hit .257 with 161 home runs, 425 RBI and 788 strikeouts.

Since signing his deal, Davis has hit .198 with 92 home runs, 230 RBI and 745 strikeouts in 518 games. 

The Orioles have finished fifth in the AL East three out of the four seasons following Davis' contract, and while it's hard to imagine things getting worse, the Orioles still have his salary on the books for another three years. 

Maybe Davis has an extra gear in him to spark a career-revival as he enters his age-34 season. That would certainly help the Orioles get back to relevancy, but after two straight seasons of hitting below .200, it's hard to expect much from Davis moving forward. 

But hey, at least he's using his money for good. In early November, Davis and his wife donated a record $3 million to UMD Children's Hospital to help the hospital expand. 

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Trey Mancini admires Ryan Zimmerman, wants to see Orioles through rebuild

Trey Mancini admires Ryan Zimmerman, wants to see Orioles through rebuild

Trey Mancini wants to be the next Ryan Zimmerman...kind of.

Though the two play completely different positions (right field vs. first base) for two different teams, Mancini saw what Zimmerman did to help develop the Nationals into World Series champions and wants to do the same in Baltimore. 

"[Zimmerman] stuck it out [in D.C.], he was their first draft pick and was there through a lot of good times and bad," Mancini said in an interview on "The Leadoff Spot" on MLB Network Radio on Wednesday. "I think there's something really admirable in that...you see what Zimmerman means to D.C."

The Orioles drafted Mancini in the eighth round of the 2013 MLB Draft; since then he's played three full seasons in the league, though 2019 could be described as his "breakout" campaign.

Last year Mancini hit .291 in 154 games, leading the Orioles with a career-high 35 home runs and 97 RBI. 

Mancini plans to stay in Baltimore through their rebuild, not only because it's the team that drafted him, but also because he loves the city and all of the people in the organization. 

"It's always hard to see yourself somewhere else," Mancini said. "It could make it sweeter if you're there through some rough times and through a rebuild, and come out on the other side...a goal of mine later on is to be there when we're winning again." 

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