Welcome back to the bar.

We're so close to baseball season, I can almost taste the $8 beers.


By the way, we don't charge more than $4 per watered-down fake brew in here. I'm not counting the cover out front, though; can't do much about that.

Anyway, I'm putting together some spring training preview stories, and obviously, one of the most intriguing things about this Orioles camp is that no one -- including executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter -- knows exactly how this roster is going to shake out.

The most wide-open battle is for the most important spots -- the rotation. We all know the Orioles had the worst ERA in baseball last year. And it is possible that the starting five in April could be made up of guys who weren't with the team this time last year.

My guess is that Wei-Yin Chen and Jason Hammel, who were offseason additions, and Tommy Hunter, who was acquired last July, will take up three of the five spots in April. I would assume that Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta, if healthy, would be strongly in the mix.

But there are plenty of other candidates: Tsuyoshi Wada, Dana Eveland, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Armando Galarraga, Alfredo Simon, Brad Bergesen.

And I'm not even dusting off the Jim-Johnson-to-the-rotation rumor.

So here's what I want you to do: Give me who you think will be the Orioles' starting five when they break camp. You can order them if you like.

Here's my off-the-wall guess: Opening Day, Hunter; 2. Chen; 3. Hammel; 4. Britton; 5. Wada.

I think Matusz will be sent to the minors, no matter the spring he has, to dominate at Triple-A Norfolk with the hope that he takes it in stride and is soon ready to be the Matusz of late 2010.

I assume Arrieta likely makes the Orioles' initial rotation on talent and mindset combined. But considering he is coming off elbow surgery and has minor league options remaining, I wouldn't be surprised if he starts in Norfolk and builds his arm strength there. That's what I am going with here.

Before you hammer me for pure speculation, you're right. This is speculation with just a twist of insight. But, hey, it is still February.

Now come over to the bar, grab the darts and start throwing at your own rotation.

Daily Think Special:

Predict the Orioles’ starting rotation for early April

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