Will the Orioles make a run at a top-shelf free-agent arm?

Dan Duquette said a No. 1 starter could be on his way through the farm system

October 13, 2012|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

As you settle down to watch an American League Championship Series without the Orioles and you wonder whether the O’s will ever go after a bona fide ace pitcher among the likes of CC Sabathia or Justin Verlander, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has some news for you.

The Orioles, who came within one win of playing in the ALCS, are going to continue to build from within.

“I’ve said all along the way to build a good ballclub is from the ground up,” Duquette told reporters Saturday at Camden Yards. “It’s not from the top down.”

One of Duquette’s first goals was to build the organization’s pitching depth. He’s done that. And he said the Orioles will continue to aim to make savvy moves for quality pitching – like the offseason signing of Taiwanese left-hander Wei-Yin Chen and the late-season trade for left-hander Joe Saunders, who started in two postseason wins – but the Orioles are not likely to dabble into the free agent market for an ace. This year’s starting pitcher free agent crop isn’t the best, with Zack Greinke arguably being the top prize.

“Having said that, we signed a couple free agents last year that did a good job,” Duquette said. “So, we are always looking for opportunity, but I’m going to tell you this: The core players are going to come from our minor league system. The really good ballplayers. And we’ve got a couple of them on the horizon that can help our pitching staff.”

He’s specifically referring to top pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, the Orioles' first-round picks the past two drafts.

Can Bundy or Gausman develop into aces? Those are high expectations.

“We are going to find out,” Duquette said. “We got couple of top picks that went three in the country and four in the country in Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. They have the type of stuff that could develop into top of the rotation. We have a couple top starters. Do we have a No. 1 starter yet? I think we need to continue to look for a No. 1 starter. But we might have a couple right here.”

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