Baltimore Orioles: Breaking Down Dan Duquette’s Lackluster Offseason

BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 25: Manager Buck Showalter
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 25: Manager Buck Showalter /

Regardless of the minimal activity in MLB free agency this offseason, the Baltimore Orioles front office had their chances to improve their roster, but most importantly the starting rotation.

The Baltimore Orioles offseason plans to improve their starting rotation, and left-handed hitting depth hasn’t been entirely successful. Nor very impressive.

Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette is in the midst of the final year of his contract with the Orioles. In potentially his last offseason with the Orioles, you’d expect Duquette to go all out to show the rest of MLB he’s still a valuable general manager.

Well, starting right-handed pitchers Andrew Cashner and Chris Tillman are Duquette’s only notable rotation acquisitions this offseason.

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Furthermore, Duquette’s antics likely leave the Orioles in a complete mess next season with All-Star Manny Machado probably playing his final season in Baltimore.

Even more, Duquette failed also to discuss a contract extension to Jonathan Schoop, who is coming off his first All-Star season.

Then, instead of offering a two-year deal to the then free agent Jon Jay, Duquette went out and signed Colby Rasmus, who was in retirement at the time. To Rasmus’ defense, he’s performed well with spring training stats of .313 batting average, a home run and four RBIs.

Most recently, Duquette let a collection of proven starting pitchers sit in free agency like Lance Lynn and former Orioles starter Jake Arrieta.

Arietta signed a $75 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend, and the Minnesota Twins inked Lynn to a one-year, $12 million deal.’s Roch Kubatko reports the Orioles were possibly interested in offering Lynn as much as a three-year deal:

"I’d love to break down the Orioles’ negotiations with Lynn and whether he preferred a short-term deal to avoid Camden Yards and a team projected to finish below .500, but I don’t have any details beyond how the club stayed in contact with his representative and appeared open to three guaranteed years but preferred two with a vesting option."

The only significant free agent starting pitcher remaining is 30-year-old Alex Cobb. Adding Cobb would solidify the O’s rotation but doesn’t solve their lefty pitching issues. projects Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner, Kevin Gausman, Chris Tillman and Mike Wright to be the Orioles five-man starting rotation.

Ideally, you’d prefer a southpaw in a rotation, something Duquette spoke on in a Q&A with’s Dan Connolly:

"We need to find some left-handed pitching, left-handed starting pitching. We’re gonna take a look at some of the candidates that we have in camp. It’s tough to compete without a decent, left-handed starting pitcher."

The O’s GM also mentioned they’re going to consider their lefty options currently in camp. Well, Duquette’s only option to acquire a lefty is via trade as the free agent market has none to offer besides Brett Anderson, per MLB Trade Rumors’ MLB Free Agent Tracker.

Among the Orioles lefty starters include Rule 5 draft pick Nester Cortes Jr., who the Orioles signed off waivers from the New York Yankees Triple-A club. The 23-year old’s spring training stats include a 6.43 ERA in seven innings.

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Another option internally includes lefty Jayson Aquino, who made his first 2018 spring training start over the weekend. However, Aquino didn’t impress much, allowing two earned runs and four hits in three innings.

On a positive note, the Orioles top prized offseason acquisition Cashner tossed four shutout innings in his Orioles debut as we move closer to Orioles Opening Day 2018. impressive