According to Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles are after Japanese hurler Kenshin Kawakami -- who is also being targeted by the Red Sox, Braves, Dodgers, Twins, Giants and Brewers.
From the Baltimore Sun: Since there have been several posts over the past few days questioning the logic of pursuing a thirtysomething Japanese pitcher during a rebuilding period, let me try to clarify the situation. The Orioles need to fill four slots in the starting rotation and -- if you were paying attention in August and September -- clearly need more pitching depth to get through the season than they presently have in development.Well, at this point, the Orioles might as well go after some pitching -- I think, on the cheap side. I'd like to have a Ben Sheets, but he's an extreme injury risk or Derek Lowe, but he's on the wrong side of 30; thus, I don't see anything else on the market that Baltimore should invest in long term.
That is going to require some stop-gap players, who don't necessarily fit into the long-term schematic but might prevent the 2009 season from being a complete embarrassment.
There is an additional rationale for pursuing a pitcher such as Kenshin Kawakami. Though he might be no better than a No. 4 starter for two or three years, he fills one of those holes and also puts Baltimore on the map for future players coming from Asia. He's no Daisuke Matsuzaka, but the Orioles have to start somewhere and right now they are basically invisible in the Far East.
At this point, we should get as much affordable pitching as possible and see who could fill the rotation spots.