Tap-In Question: How do you slot the 2017 Orioles' rotation? - BaltimoreBaseball.com
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Tap-In Question: How do you slot the 2017 Orioles’ rotation?

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon


We have a lot of time to discuss the Orioles’ 2017 rotation – roughly four months before pitchers step on the full mound in Sarasota, Fla.

But let’s do some early slotting at the Tap Room today. (What would you rather do, discuss how the Ravens infuriate you or how the Orioles infuriated you?)

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said recently that he never stops trying to improve the rotation, and so there may be a new starter or two to throw into the mix in February. But I doubt it will be anyone battling for the Opening Day assignment.

There just aren’t many intriguing options in this winter’s free agent class – and certainly not ones without major financial risk/investment. And, as we’ve said before, the Orioles don’t have enough available top prospects to land an ace in a significant trade. (You want an ace? Be prepared to include Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy and/or Jonathan Schoop just to get the conversation started.)

Here’s the other part of this surprising equation for 2017: The Orioles already have six starters returning – and that doesn’t include swingman Vance Worley or last year’s rookie tandem of Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson.

It may not be an overly exciting rotation, but if everyone pitches the way they are capable, it would be a serviceable group with some upside.

At this point, there are six candidates for five spots: (in alphabetical order) Dylan Bundy, Yovani Gallardo, Gausman, Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley and Chris Tillman.

The obvious solution is to trade one of the veterans – Gallardo, Jimenez or Miley — but that’s foolish at this point. You’re not going to get much for any of them, and I’d be surprised if all six of those guys are fully healthy and ready to pitch by Opening Day.

Pitchers get hurt. It just happens. So the Orioles should maintain that depth, unless they are knocked over by a trade offer (and they won’t be). Remember, the Orioles thought they had plenty of depth when they cut Miguel Gonzalez last March and then they spent much of the season looking for rotation help.

So, at this point, I keep all six. And, for me, the odd man out right now is Gallardo, who I’d have in the bullpen, on ice, in case someone gets hurt. Of course, I reserve the right in spring training to change my mind if Gallardo significantly outpitches one of the other veterans.

I’m giving Miley the benefit of the doubt, because being traded can be a difficult transition and because he’s the only left-hander among the candidates. I’m not saying he has a long leash, but he has a tentative rotation spot for me to begin spring training.

Duquette made an interesting point recently that Miley, Gallardo, Jimenez and Tillman are all pitching for a contract, whether it’s as a pending free agent or to have their options picked up.

So that quartet definitely has the incentive to pitch well.

Given all that, here’s my five-man rotation to the start the year: 1. Tillman 2. Gausman 3. Jimenez. 4. Miley. 5. Bundy.

Bundy may end up being the ace or No. 2, but there’s no harm in starting him in the lowest pressured spot to begin the season. I wouldn’t skip his turn, but I’d also allow him to match up with some of the opposition’s lesser starters early on (though scheduling may soon scramble that). But, if you feel Bundy has to be No. 3, I wouldn’t have a problem with that slotting either.

I like Miley breaking up the string of right-handers and I’m not giving the Opening Day start to Gausman just yet – not if 16-game winner Chris Tillman is healthy. Gausman can earn it in the spring, but I’d still go with Tillman.

So that’s my rotation for 2017 – as we sit at the bar right now.

What’s yours?

Tap-In Question: What’s your early slotting for the 2017 Orioles’ rotation?



  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 17, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Well I really had my hopes up for obtain Kershaw and/or Scherzer, but since you say we can’t I’ll go with ….

    1) Tillman
    2) Gausman
    3) Bundy
    4) Miley
    5) Gallardo or Wright if he could ever get his head screwed on right.

    For the 1st half of the year I’m spot starting Ubaldo as needed, but more than anything, I’m simply saving him for late August/September since historically that’s the only time of year he seems to be effective. And even though Tyler Wilson wears stirrups like a real ballplayer, his weak stuff makes him a hopeless cause in my opinion.

    Waiting to hear from the Stache ……

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 17, 2016 at 7:14 am

      Start the 1st line out with a typo …. geeeeeeze …

    • Dan Connolly

      October 17, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      I get your thoughts. But you can’t spot start Jimenez early. You have to see which one you have. For competitive and trade purposes. Now, if he is bad in April — like he has been much of his career — the leash shouldn’t be long.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        October 17, 2016 at 1:50 pm

        Oh…did you expect a serious answer from me?

    • Dan Connolly

      October 17, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      I like when you surprise me.

  2. Eldersburg Enigma

    October 17, 2016 at 9:16 am

    You’ve got to separate Ubaldo from Miley, and if all three guys are in the rotation (ugh), separate Gallardo from these two as well. Too taxing on the bullpen if they’re not spread out.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 17, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      That’s an excellent point. Drink chip.

  3. Creatively_19

    October 17, 2016 at 9:40 am


    I’m okay with your rotation, but if I had to make mine, I don’t think I’d keep Bundy at the end of it, so lets try this:

    1) Tillman
    2) Gausman
    3) Ubaldo
    4) Bundy
    5) Miley

    Yeah, Gallardo is riding the bench or the pen, or his lawn mower. Honestly with him I’d like to see if he comes into 2017 a bit healthier and see how that goes in spring training. I’m not against him having a spot in the rotation, I just don’t see where he fits right now either.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 17, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      That works for me too

    • marcshank

      October 23, 2016 at 9:26 am

      Works for me, too. Gausman is the one who might have a rocky time at the beginning. I don’t want to jinx Ubaldo, but as far as I’m concerned, if he can pitch in April on like he pitched from August on last year, the O’s might stay in first place the second half, too.

      Remember our four twenty game winners in ’71?: Palmer, McNally, Dobson and Cuellar.

      It could happen again. Long shot I know. But Tillman, Gausman, Ubaldo and Bundy. Just dreaming, which seems okay this early.

  4. Bancells Moustache

    October 17, 2016 at 10:24 am

    1. Gausman- Just because Tilly has been consistent over the past few years doesn’t negate the fact that Kevin Gausman is now the best pitcher on the Orioles and possibly the entire American League. Give him the ball Opening Day and don’t look back. Welcome to the new age.
    2. Tillman- Bearing in mind what’s written above, he’s still Chris Tillman and still gets it done. He’s always been more of a 2 anyway.
    3. Miley- I absolutely shredded Miley in August and September and rightfully so. Still, Dan is right about the difficulties of being uprooted. The guy was pulled from the most pitcher friendly ballpark in the AL and dropped on the other side of the country in the slo-pitch softball field that is Camden Yards. Let’s see how he does once settled in. Late season returns looked promising.
    4. Bundy- If he hits his stride, matching up against an opposing 3, 4 or 5 can be pencilled in as a W much of the time. Dylan’s biggest issue that I saw was stressing out on the hill. He would look like Roger Clemens and then get hit a few times and ‘poof’, look like a guy whose biggest career start was the Oklahoma High School playoffs.
    5. Gallardo- Similar situation as Miley. I’m not tossing Yovani out of the boat just yet on account of his injuries and abbreviated spring. I am, however, sitting him down and giving him the baseball version of Alec Baldwin’s ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ speech. This should have some added weight because I am also
    6. Releasing Ubaldo Jimenez. I’ve already blabbed ad nauseum about this one, and my comments are already long to the point of pretentiousness. He’s too inconsistent to be a pitcher on a championship caliber team, and the Orioles are too good at finding relief arms to waste a seat in the bullpen on him.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 17, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      The only things I take issue with here are the Bundy poise thing. Something that doesn’t concern me or those that work with him. I mean, what you may be seeing his him adjusting to actually having good pitches hit — something that didn’t happen in the minors. But he doesn’t strike me as someone who gets flustered. And I’ve seen those guys. 2. We’re dancing the same dance as we did last year. I won’t reiterate specifics. But you can’t release Ubaldo and eat $14M. You have to see who he is. If he has the same first half as he did last year, then maybe we revisit that topic. But not now.

      • Bancells Moustache

        October 17, 2016 at 1:08 pm

        We know who he is Dan. We’ve watched it for 3 years. He was bad in ’14 with a few surpringly good starts. Bad in ’15 with a few surprisingly good starts. Bad in ’16 with a few surprisingly good starts. But the O’s are going to hope he’s Bob Gibson in 2017, at least until he’s hung 6 or 7 L’s on the scoreboard? It’s madness. Trade him for whatever you can get now or take the haircut.

        • JCO

          October 18, 2016 at 10:27 am

          Well. in 2015 Jiminez was 7-4 with a 2.81 ERA before the All-Star Break, which means there were more than a few good starts. Then he previewed his 2016 self and ran into the rocks with a 5-6 record and a 5.63 ERA. I’ve already won a lunch on this betting a friend who told me there’s no way Jiminez was that good for that long a period, it can’t be. But it be. I think he’s been so bad this year people have no recollection of it.

          I think they need to see if indeed this talk of fixing his mechanics and simplifying his delivery actually was a fix. His last month was 3-1 with a 2.31 ERA. Let’s see if there are signs of that continuing in spring training. I do think if he’s pitching well, it would be worth their while to move him in July as he hasn’t shown he can do it over a full year.

      • Bancells Moustache

        October 17, 2016 at 1:23 pm

        As to Bundy, I’m not saying he loses focus as an affront to him. On the contrary, I think he’s going to be awesome this year. But just by observing from a distance, there were times when he would give up a few base runners, have to go from the stretch and looked like a completely different pitcher. Which makes sense because what I said was 100% true: Dylan Bundy’s most pressure packed starts up until this year did indeed take place in the Oklahoma State High School Playoffs (I guarantee you that’s why he never left the bullpen in Toronto). So yes, while I’m sure he is poised for his age, that doesn’t mean he’s superhuman, which what you would have to be to not let that big of an adjustment affect you.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 17, 2016 at 5:53 pm

      Fair enough. And reasoned Stache. As always

  5. Marshall

    October 17, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Dan, from the current winter view, is there anyone from the minors/injured brigade with a shot to break camp at all?

    Bridwell? Lee? Harvey? etc.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 17, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      Definitely not Harvey. Won’t see him until 2018. Can’t imagine they would rush Lee after not pitching since May. That leaves Bridwell, but I think they see him more as a reliever.

  6. terp80

    October 17, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    I’d like to see the O’s make a run at Rich Hill. If they get Hill, I’d make Miley the long man in the pen.

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