The Orioles have revisited trade talks with the Cubs about outfielder Felix Pie, according to industry sources, and could end up as the third team in a three-way deal that would send marquee right-hander Jake Peavy from the San Diego Padres to Chicago.
Pie, once considered one of the best young prospects in the game, was an Orioles target at this time last year when the two teams discussed a trade involving two-time All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts.
Orioles president Andy MacPhail said yesterday that a deal is not imminent but acknowledged that Pie is the kind of player the Orioles are pursuing to broaden the club's position depth.
"We have a lot of different irons in the fire," MacPhail said. "We're in the process of determining who our trading partners might be and which free agents we might have a chance to sign. We're basically in the same position as everybody else, waiting for a couple of big dominoes to fall."
The Padres, who are limited in trade talks for Peavy because of the 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner's no-trade clause, covet Garrett Olson, a Southern California native. This offseason, the Padres asked for Olson in exchange for veteran shortstop Khalil Greene, but the Orioles rejected the offer. Olson, 25, is 10-13 with a 6.87 ERA in 33 starts over two major league seasons.
The Padres and Cubs have been looking for a third team to get involved in the Peavy trade talks because Chicago reportedly doesn't have all the young, major league-ready pieces San Diego is seeking.
Pie, 23, has struggled in brief major league looks with Chicago. In parts of two seasons, Pie has a .223 average (20-for-83) with three homers, 30 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. In parts of seven minor league seasons, Pie has a career average of .299 with 62 home runs and 317 RBIs in 627 games.
If the deal gets done, the Orioles could use the left-handed-hitting Pie in a platoon in left field, joining Nick Markakis, 25, and Adam Jones, 23, in one of the youngest outfields in the baseball. Or they could turn Pie loose in left field full time the way they did with Jones last season. Luke Scott, the Orioles' current left fielder, could get at-bats at designated hitter with Aubrey Huff primarily playing first base.