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Orioles president Andy MacPhail had hoped to have enough young pitching to focus on position talent in the next couple of free agent markets, but the loss of Adam Loewen as a pitcher and the late-season collapse of the major league staff has changed the landscape going into this offseason.

MacPhail (left) has acknowledged the lack of pitching depth and appears open to signing a free agent pitcher this winter. That should come as no surprise, since he has said all along that his actions will always be governed by conditions "on the ground." The question is whether that means he'll go all out and spend some real money on a front-rotation guy (A.J. Burnett?) or look for one or two solid stopgaps to flesh out the rotation while the Orioles wait on some of their young talent.

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It's pretty obvious the team has to do something proactive. It's too much to expect the light to go on for enough of the young pitchers who have failed to break out this season or, for that matter, for injured pitchers Troy Patton, Matt Albers and (maybe) Jim Johnson to come back and fill out the rotation.

Though MacPhail has indicated he has the go-ahead to make a play for a quality pitcher, I'm still skeptical about both the club's willingness to bid what it would take to get one of the big guys and the likelihood one of those pitchers will choose Baltimore over a more competitive franchise. I'm guessing the O's end up with a couple of Paul Byrd-type pitchers to keep next year from looking like the past three weeks.

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I think it was John Lennon who wrote "Whatever gets you through the night...it's all right."

If you think that's true, who would you go after and why? The discussion is now open.

AP photo

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