The best left-handed reliever remaining on the free agent market is narrowing his choices, and the Orioles remain in the mix.
Joe Beimel, who was 1-2 with a 3.40 ERA in 71 relief appearances with the Colorado Rockies in 2010, has roughly five teams significantly interested in his services and he could make a decision before the end of the week, according to an industry source. The Boston Red Sox and one other American League team are also talking with Beimel, the source said.
The Orioles, who are seeking a second lefty to join Michael Gonzalez in the bullpen, have made a minor-league offer to Beimel that includes an invitation to spring training. Although the spot is not guaranteed, it would be highly surprising if the 33-year-old Beimel didn't make the Orioles out of spring training if he chooses the club.
Beimel has pitched in the majors for 10 seasons and has appeared in 60 or more games in each of the past five years. His competition for the lefty specialist role includes Pedro Viola, who has pitched in just 11 major league games; Troy Patton, who has four games of major-league service and is now facing DWI charges in Texas; and Clay Rapada, a 29-year-old who pitched in 13 games with the Texas Rangers in 2010 and signed a minor-league deal with the Orioles on Tuesday.
Left-handed hitters batted .221 with a .275 on-base percentage against Beimel in 2010, while righties hit .329 against him. In his career, lefties have hit .259 (.320 OBP) versus Beimel while right-handers have hit .288 (.367 OBP).
It is unknown how many of the five teams have offered Beimel a guaranteed one-year deal. He settled for a minor-league deal with the Rockies last year and didn't sign until March in each of the past two offseasons.
A western Pennsylvania native who went to Duquesne University, Beimel has pitched with six different major-league clubs since making his debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2001.
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