Orioles: Next man up

The Baltimore Sun

If you had to go to Las Vegas and bet your house on who will be the Opening Day starter for the Orioles in two months, I would suggest you start looking for a cheap apartment. There is no obvious candidate, which is not exactly a positive way to open spring training.

Manager Buck Showalter would love to have a Justin Verlander to build around, but this is the Orioles we're talking about so he's throwing the competition open. My money would be on Jake Arrieta, who started the home opener last year and is projected to be one of the cornerstones of the rotation for many years to come.

Hard to imagine anybody else starting out at the front of the line. Tommy Hunter just got here in the middle of last season and Taiwanese left-hander Yei-Win Chen is an unknown quantity. Of course, Arrieta is coming off surgery to remove a large spur from his pitching elbow, so that's just another variable in this very complicated equation.

Deciding on the No. 1 guy will be one of the interesting challenges facing Showalter in spring training, which opens in less than two weeks. Knowing Buck, he'll enjoy sorting through all the new warm bodies that Dan Duquette has added to the roster, but it remains to be seen if there really is strength in numbers


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