I'll take a little time between Mere Christianity and The Iliad to address something almost as important: the Orioles starting rotation. Jeremy Guthrie will return as the staff ace, but the picture is cloudy beyond him. Let's look at some of the competitors.
Koji Uehara - The Japanese free agent was given a 2 year, $10 million deal and will therefore find a spot in the rotation, probably in the number 2 or 3 spot. I'm not sure what to expect from him, so I won't say anything else
Mark Hendrickson - The former NBA player is average at best. He is a left hander who can give you 200 innings, but they won't necessarily be good ones. On my team, there is no way he gets in. But who knows what the O's would do. He would make a decent long reliever in the bullpen.
Jeremy Guthrie - Guthrie should continue to improve and hopefully avoid injuries. The past two seasons he has suffered from unimaginably horrific bad run support. (Yes I just said that) That is probably just bad luck and look for him to win 15 games this year.
Matt Albers - He proved he had the stuff last year, mostly as a reliever, and deserves a shot as a starter. But he should and probably will start the season in Triple A after missing the second half of last season due to injury. But he shouldn't stay there long.
Rich Hill - The former Cub has very good stuff and his chances of regaining his control are better than Daniel Cabrera's chances of finding it for the first time. Unless he has a terrible spring, he should earn a spot in the rotation. If he doesn't, he will have to be put on waivers because he has no minor league options left. I guarantee that some other team will claim him if that happens.
Radhames Liz - Liz is scarily similar to Cabrera, and the Orioles have hopefully learned from Cabrera that it is best for young pitchers to learn how to throw strikes before pitching in the major leagues. That being said, he could be a dominant pitcher later in the year, but most likely will resurface in the future.
Troy Patton - Last year's preseason favorite to win the No. 5 spot after being acquired in the Tejada trade, Patton was injured and missed the entire season. Don't expect the O's to rush him back. Don't blame them either.
Hayden Penn - It's a shame that this fine young pitcher has freak accidents every time it looks like he is going to stick with the O's. This time, he is out of options, so if he doesn't make the team, he is probably gone. So unless he gets hit by a runaway cow, the O's should give him a shot at the back end of the rotation. He is older and more mature and could surprise people. If he gets the job, look for 10 wins and a decent rookie season.
Chris Waters - The minor league journeyman was inconsistent last year, but is similar to Brian Burres in that he doesn't have the stuff to be a reliable starter. He will have to prove that he is beyond all doubt better than Penn, Hill, Hendrickson, and company to secure a spot. Don't get your hopes up.
David Pauley - The Orioles traded for him in the offseason, and he too is out of options. I don't know much about him, but the Orioles should give him a fair look and treat him similar to Penn. Because he is out of options, he should be given the nod in a close race over Albers or Liz. But the O's have a tradition of defying all logic.
Others - Danys Baez, James Johnson, Alfredo Simon, Brad Hennessey - Baez is awful enough as a reliever, Johnson should be given a shot, but the O's are set on him as a reliever, and Simon will be lucky if he is not designated for assignment to make room for Ty Wigginton. I don't even know why the O's invited Hennessey to spring training or why I am even mentioning his name.
My Preferred Rotation:
The O's Probable Rotation: