Elias says Orioles are still looking for starting pitching help - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Elias says Orioles are still looking for starting pitching help

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Spring training begins on February 14th, and with less than three weeks to go, Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias remains optimistic the team will add another starting pitcher.

“We’re still working,” Elias said on Thursday as the team’s annual Caravan began. “This is a team that is in really good shape. We won [101] games last year, won a division and 90, 95 percent of the team is back. This is a team that we’re looking to upgrade and supplement and not reimagine.

“The offseason is still going. There’s a lot left on the board, a lot of discussions still happening. It’s been kind of a later, slower offseason than normal. We’re working pretty furiously.”

When Elias last met with the local media at the Winter Meetings, the team announced the signing of a new closer, Craig Kimbrel, but no other major league free agents have been signed since.

“Haven’t lined up on particular opportunities, but there’s still time for that,” he said.

Elias said it’s not only the Orioles who’d like another starting pitcher.

“The whole league, all 30 teams, have publicly stated they’re looking for starting pitching,” he said. “That just speaks to the sport, and the nature of it, where a pitcher fits on every team. We’ve got a rotation right now with five, six, even more really accomplished guys that had good seasons last year.

“There’s room for more if we can find it. We’ve got to find the right deal, the right fit, the right trade, the right signing, the right investment. It isn’t something we want to address in a vacuum. That’s an operating model that haven’t gotten us to this point and we’ll continue to apply it and look for moves that we like.”

Elias said he’s spoken with the other 29 teams and noted that there haven’t been many trades involving starters. Tampa Bay sent Tyler Glasnow to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Boston dealt Chris Sale to Atlanta, and Elias didn’t think that the Rays or Red Sox had any interest in trading those frontline starters to an AL East team.

“There just hasn’t been anyone that we’ve been in on that’s been traded,” Elias said. “We’re certainly turning over every rock in that market and things haven’t happened yet around the league and maybe they won’t. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to keep talking to people.”

Elias said that he also could be looking for bullpen help.

“We’re looking for help for the team,” he said. “The bullpen is always an area you can bolster, and even on the position player side, those are best characterized as supplementations that we’re looking at there. We’re going to keep looking at ways to improve the roster, and we do it all the time.

“We do it during the season. Certainly until the very last minute of the offseason, we’ll be looking. I hope that there’s more upcoming. If not, this is the reigning championship team of the AL East, and most of it’s back, and we’ve got waves and waves of young talent behind them, so I think we’re in pretty good shape, but we’re trying to get better, for sure.”

Elias also said that other than Félix Bautista’s Tommy John surgery, he doesn’t have any injuries to report on. There are four players whose arbitration cases have yet to be settled — relievers Danny Coulombe and Jacob Webb, both of whom were on hand on Thursday, outfielder Austin Hays, and first baseman/outfielder Ryan O’Hearn — but he didn’t appear optimistic those cases would be settled without an arbitration hearing.

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