O's to scour trade market for pitching

Baltimore may seek to bolster rotation with a southpaw

O's to scour trade market for pitching

BALTIMORE -- The non-waiver Trade Deadline is little more than two weeks away, and it's no big surprise that the Orioles have already been actively scouring the market to try to upgrade an underperforming starting rotation. Baltimore, the leader in the American League East, is one of at least 10 teams looking to add some pitching. Can the O's make a deal that doesn't take away from their current strengths -- the bullpen and lineup -- and improve their rotation in the second half?

TRADE SCENARIO
Having never replaced lefty Wei-Yin Chen, and with a rotation of all righties, the O's prefer a left-hander. The Rays' Matt Moore is rumored to be available -- though it remains to be seen if Tampa Bay would make a deal with a team in the division. Baltimore has also been linked to San Diego's Drew Pomeranz and Pittsburgh's Francisco Liriano.

"We've got a good bullpen and lineup," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said at the end of the team's recent road trip. "If we could get some stability through our starting rotation, that would probably be our first choice, but we'll see. We have players in the organization that other teams like. We've already had some preliminary conversations, so we'll have to see how that goes. We are having a good year. We'd like to continue and see if we could have an even better year."

WHAT ARE THEY PLAYING FOR?
The playoffs are well within reach should the Orioles get their pitching under control. Even without it, the offense and the 'pen have been good enough to keep the O's at or near the top the entire year. This is a big year for Baltimore and could be just the right time to make a playoff run.

THE ROAD AHEAD
An Orioles team that leads the Majors in home wins headed into the break with just three home games over a two-week stretch. Baltimore also opens the second half on the road, with trips to St. Petersburg and New York, and it will have to hold its own away from Camden Yards to stay in first place.

KEY PLAYER
You could name any member of the current rotation as "key" since the O's need just one or two guys to turn things around to make a huge difference. But there's another option lurking that no one quite knows what to expect from: rookie Dylan Bundy. Manager Buck Showalter has said it's not a question of if, but when Bundy makes a start. Could he give the rotation a boost?

PROSPECTS TO WATCH
There's nobody in the farm system pushing to help the O's, particularly in the rotation, though lefty Chris Lee is high on their radar. Lee, who has been sidelined since May 23, has a shoulder injury, and he has to get healthy and get some innings under his belt before he becomes a consideration for Baltimore.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. 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.