Possible Orioles free agent targets
Let's face it, you like speculation. We like speculation.
And, at this point in the baseball calendar, all we can provide you is speculation -- we like to call it an educated guess -- as to whom the Orioles may target this offseason.
So take this list for what it is worth: an early look at some of the more intriguing names that are or could be available. (A new group of players will enter the market after Nov. 30, when clubs choose whether to tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players)
Also, keep in mind that Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette prefers to build from the bottom up, so he's more focused on strengthening the farm system and club depth than he is buying high-ticket items.
But this is the first time in a decade-plus that Baltimore is a somewhat desirable destination. And surely the Orioles will do their due diligence in free agency, even if ultimately they don't make a splash.
Here are some names to keep in mind. There surely will be more to consider as the hot stove season progresses. The Orioles own free agents, such as pitcher Joe Saunders and outfielder Nate McLouth, are not included. But you can assume the club will make a run at those two.
No specific dollar figures or contract lengths are mentioned at this point. Even we think that speculation is too early.
-- Dan Connolly
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Shane Victorino( Christian Petersen, Getty Images / September 12, 2012 )
Not a great time for the Flyin' Hawaiian to hit free agency. The Dodgers outfielder is coming off his worst full year in batting average (.255), on-base percentage (.321) and slugging percentage (.383). He'll turn 32 in November, and if he lands a big contract it will be based on what he has done in the past -- a two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glover -- and not his 2012 performance.
Orioles' bottom line: He's a natural center fielder who has played left and would strengthen the club's defense. He also could hit atop the order, but unless the market collapses on him, the Orioles have cheaper alternatives.