Woeful O’s

At some point, one has to feel bad for the Baltimore Orioles. 2009 was never going to be a year where they competed for a playoff berth, but last year the American League East had four of the five best teams in the AL. Now a few of those teams have added the likes of Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Pat Burrell, John Smoltz, and Brad Penny. If that’s not bad enough, the Orioles rotation might look something like this:

Jeremy Guthrie (403 career IP, 4.58 FIP)
Mark Hendrickson (977.6 career IP, 4.5 FIP)
Garrett Olson (165 career IP, 5.28 FIP)
Koji Uehara
Radhames Liz (109 career IP, 6.08 FIP)

Yeah…that doesn’t appear particularly pretty, does it? Well, their other options include Brian Bass and Brian Burres. Applaud the Orioles for not rushing their pitching prospects, but 2009 is going to be anything but fun for their rotation. Is it possible that this could be the worst rotation in recent memory? Over the past five years, the worst rotations, as told by FIP are:

2008 Orioles 5.38
2007 Nationals 5.45
2006 Royals 5.50
2005 Royals 5.07
2004 Devil Rays 5.27

The average FIP of the four O’s starters is 5.11, yes it’s an extremely rough estimate since we’re not taking innings into account and we’re assuming nobody improves or declines. Uehara becomes the wild card. Keith Law notes that Uehara and Camden Yards are not a good mix due to Uehara’s homerun tendencies. At the same time, Uehara walks next to none, less than 1.2 per nine in his Nippon career. Law notes the same concerns with Hideki Irabu, Tomo Ohka, and Kei Igawa. Their career FIPs are 4.97, 4.46, and 6.19 respectively.

The Orioles also have interest in Braden Looper and Tim Redding, so while they might have the worst rotation in baseball next season, odds are, they won’t even be as poor as 2008’s edition.

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