Orioles ‘very active’ in trade conversations to bolster pitching staff

Orioles ‘very active’ in trade conversations to bolster pitching staff

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The Baltimore Orioles are aggressively working to add to their starting pitching staff, according to the latest report from MLB insider Jon Morosi, pursuing trades for White Sox starter Dylan Cease and multiple arms from the Miami Marlins.

“They are still very active, I am told, in trade conversations,” Morosi said in an appearance on MLB Network. “I would be moderately surprised … if the Baltimore Orioles do not add one credible Major League starter between now and Opening Day.”

The Orioles had the seventh-best ERA in 2023 at 3.89, per MLB.com, holding opponents to just 177 home runs, the fourth-best mark in the majors. But as its young core of hitters ascends, headlined by Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson with top-ranked prospect Jackson Holliday waiting in the wings, its pitching rotation is seen as a weak spot.

The Orioles were swept by the Texas Rangers in the 2023 American League Divisional Series as starters Kyle Bradish (3.86 ERA in Game 1), Grayson Rodriguez (27.00 ERA in Game 2) and Dean Kremer (32.40 ERA in Game 3) struggled. Pitchers Jack Flaherty and Kyle Gibson have departed in free agency.

Now, looking to make a deeper playoff run in 2024, the Orioles are reportedly eyeing one of the top starters left on the market as well as a stable of potential help from the National League.

“When you talk about options for the Orioles, I’m told they’re speaking with both the Marlins about their collection of arms [and] the White Sox on Dylan Cease,” Morosi reported, adding that Marlins pitchers Jesús Luzardo and Edward Cabrera could be the specific targets in an upcoming trade.

With starting pitching firmly entrenched as a premium need across virtually every MLB team, Cease’s name has been at the center of trade rumors since before this offseason even started. Despite a rocky 2023 campaign with a 4.58 ERA, the White Sox ace is remembered for a 2022 season that earned him second place in American League Cy Young voting.

And there’s reason to believe the White Sox will look to partner with the Orioles on a trade for Cease.

“The O’s have the sport’s top farm system, with a heavy position-player focus,” Steve Paradzinski wrote. “Many of these players are blocked by young, affordable talent on the Orioles’ active roster, thus making them expensable in a sense. So the fit with the Sox seems natural, to say the least.”

As for a potential trade with the Marlins, Morosi pointed out that Miami could be sellers based on the depth of their rotation alone. Luzardo would be a prized asset as a 26-year-old coming off of a 3.58 ERA season in 2023.

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