Around the Horn: Rotation

Orioles leaning on quartet of Tillman, Gonzalez, Jimenez, Gausman

Around the Horn: Rotation

With the start of Spring Training just weeks away, anticipation is building for the 2016 season. MLB.com is going around the horn to break down each area of the Orioles, continuing with the rotation.

BALTIMORE -- When asked at his introductory news conference what moves he thought the Orioles still needed to make, Chris Davis didn't hesitate: a pitcher to replace Wei-Yin Chen.

But with most of the offseason already in the rear-view, Baltimore still finds itself looking to upgrade a disappointing rotation already without last season's best starter in Chen.

"We're still looking for additions to our pitching staff. Takes a lot of energy to sign a star player," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said at Davis' unveiling. "We are always cognizant of what we need to add to our pitching staff. We haven't found the pitching that we really like at the prices we like. That has been a very, very expensive market this offseason. But I'm confident we'll be able to come up with the pitching that we need to compete. We are going to have to get some performances from the pitchers that we have and then continue to add to that."

Around the Horn: Catchers

Even if they do add, the Orioles are relying heavily on better performances from their returning pitchers: Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez and Kevin Gausman. Health permitting, those four figure to be in the rotation, and are all looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2015.

The Orioles, recognizing what Duquette called a pricey market, did build up their bullpen with the re-signing of Darren O'Day. Coupled with closer Zach Britton, the O's should be able to shorten games. But getting to the sixth and seventh inning could still be an issue for an Orioles club that pitched to a 4.53 starting rotation ERA last year, the second worst in the American League.

While waiting for a breakthrough or bounce-back year from their first four pitchers, there will also be some competition for the fifth and final spot. Assuming Duquette doesn't sign a pitcher, Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright are strong internal candidates in a farm system devoid of any Major League-ready pitching prospects (which limits the Orioles' ability to trade for a pitcher). Both Hunter Harvey and Dylan Bundy, considered the best of the O's young arms, are working back from injury and the hope is Bundy -- who is out of options -- can slot into the team's bullpen.

Baltimore's re-signing of Davis and Matt Wieters and the addition of Mark Trumbo keeps its lineup strong. But as manager Buck Showalter likes to say, it's about the pitching. And the pressure is on the Orioles' four returning starters to turn things around.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.