The Orioles are continuing their pursuit of a starting pitcher and have been in recent contact with some of the top names left on the board, including Ervin Santana, Bronson Arroyo and Ubaldo Jimenez.
One source referred to the talks as “a continuing dialogue,” but it’s unclear whether the club is headed toward any immediate resolution.
“We’re still talking to a couple of pitchers,” Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said Friday night, though he declined to specify which.
So far this offseason, the Orioles’ lengthiest free-agent signing has been a two-year, $4.5 million deal with reliever Ryan Webb, who had been nontendered by the Miami Marlins.
Their biggest splash was agreeing with closer Grant Balfour on a two-year, $15 million deal, but that was spiked by the Orioles because they didn’t like the results of Balfour’s physical.
In fact, Balfour’s was one of two potential Orioles deals this winter that have been halted following a physical. The Orioles have pulled away from a major league deal with outfielder Tyler Colvin after questions stemming from his Jan. 15 physical.
CBSSports.com reported Friday that the Orioles were concerned about Colvin’s back, which limited him at Triple-A Colorado Springs last year. The Orioles, who have not publicly commented about any potential agreement with Colvin, could still agree to a minor league deal with him, though that seems unlikely.
The club already has 11 outfielders set to take part in major league spring training. Colvin, who played for the Colorado Rockies last year, remains a free agent.
The Orioles’ priority, however, continues to be starting pitching.
Of the available free agents, Arroyo has to be considered the most likely fit for the Orioles because he doesn’t require the forfeiture of a 2014 first-round draft pick, and since he turns 37 on Feb. 24, he would not demand a lengthy contract.
The Orioles have never agreed to a four-year deal, or longer, with a free-agent starter, something Santana and Jimenez potentially could land. If the Orioles signed either Santana or Jimenez, the club would have to give up its first-round pick, 17th overall, in the 2014 draft. Duquette has said in the past that he’d forfeit the pick in the right situation.
Regardless, the Orioles still appear to be at least considering all three veteran starters to boost a rotation that had the fourth-worst ERA in the American League in 2013.