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There were two non-playoff related baseball headlines over the weekend that caught my eye. One was the Los Angeles Dodgers' imminent resigning of potential free agent pitcher Ted Lilly. The other was the report that the St. Louis Cardinals have started contract talks with their would-be free agent starter, Jake Westbrook.

If Westbrook and Lilly agree to deals before hitting free agency, an already thin pitching market will be further weakened, strengthening my belief that the Orioles will go with the starting arms that they have, rather than spending a lot of money on a pitcher who would essentially be a No.5 starter in the American League East.

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Sure, it would be nice for the Orioles to play "Name Your Price" with Cliff Lee, but it's hard – impossible actually – to imagine any scenario where the ace lefty signs with the Orioles when the richest and best teams in baseball will be willing to hand him a blank check.

The second tier of free agent starters includes Jorge De La Rosa, Hiroki Kuroda, Vicente Padilla, Carl Pavano and Javier Vazquez. Then, you have a bunch of potential back-end guys who would eat innings but probably do little else.

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I can't imagine the likes of David Bush, Doug Davis, Rodrigo Lopez and Jeff Suppan would fare too well in the A.L. East.

Are any of these pitchers that I mentioned besides Lee worth lucrative multi-year commitments?

I understand that pitching is the name of the game, but I'd have a real hard time investing a decent chunk of money in that group. Perhaps you gamble on a free agent pitcher coming off an injury, like a Brandon Webb, Erik Bedard, Justin Duchscherer or Chris Young. Of course, even that would be a tough sell as such pitchers looking for make-good, prove you are healthy one-year deals don't traditionally want to be in a division where they'd have to face the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays five times each per season.

That's why letting Brad Bergesen, Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman and Zach Britton, and maybe one of the current starter-turned-relievers (Jason Berken, David Hernandez and Jim Johnson) come to spring training for a chance to compete for the three rotation spots behind Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Matusz may not be the worst thing to happen.

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