pitchers welcome the unspoken message to them.
Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette spent the offseason focusing on starting pitching, acquiring left-handers Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada and Dana Eveland.
That makes for a crowded staff. As of now, the Orioles' list of starting rotation candidates is in double digits, which will create intense competition come
“I think they know it's time to you-know-what or get off the pot,” Orioles manager
said at Saturday's FanFest at the
goes into the spring as the team's unquestioned ace, but how the rotation spots fall after that is up in the air. Showalter has said that last year's starting pitchers might have gotten their spots too easily. Now they will have to earn them. No spot is guaranteed.
“If you don't, you're going to get lost in the shuffle with the guys we've brought in,” lefty
said. “Guys have to go in there thinking they have to win a job. We know we've got to compete, too. I know I have stuff I have to work on. I think it's beneficial to me and to the team that there's that competition.”
Britton, as well as righty
, struggled with inconsistency or injuries — sometimes both — but they said hearing news that the Orioles were adding more starting pitching served as offseason motivation.
Matusz spent the offseason working out with former Orioles outfielder and new team special assistant
. Arrieta was rehabilitating after surgery in August to remove a
from his right elbow.
“This is what we all need,” Matusz said. “It's great to have that going on. It's a long season. It's important to have depth. You've seen in the past, it's tough pitching in the big leagues. It's important to have that depth and that competition so that we're all pushing each other to get better every day.”
Returning Orioles righties
— who dropped nearly 20 pounds working with Matusz under Anderson —
will also be competing for rotation spots.