SAN DIEGO — Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said Monday that he is confident the team can improve its depleted outfield through free agency.
But a closer look at the remaining outfielders available doesn't turn up many overly attractive options.
Melky Cabrera heads a shrinking crop of quality free-agent outfielders, but reports indicate that the Seattle Mariners currently lead the competition for his services. The Orioles could reunite with Michael Morse, who is coming off a strong season in San Francisco after he spent the end of the 2013 season battling an injury in Baltimore.
Other possibilities, such as Nori Aoki and Colby Rasmus, are somewhat underwhelming and are both seeking multiyear deals. The Orioles are expected to meet with Delmon Young's agent this week in San Diego.
After losing out on retaining Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis last week, Duquette said he has money to spend, but Duquette is unlikely to overpay.
That makes the signing of a veteran outfielder like Chris Denorfia an intriguing option. The Orioles have interest in the 34-year-old Denorfia, according to an industry source.
Denorfia hit .230/.284/.318 with 19 extra-base hits (12 doubles, four triples, three homers) and 21 RBIs in 121 games last season with the Mariners and San Diego Padres.
The right-handed-hitting Denorfia has a line of .292/.358/.430 in his career aganst lefties. He only batted .220 against left-handed pitching this past season, but he could be a nice fallback if Young doesn't return. He also can play all three outfield positions.
Denorfia could give the Orioles a nice platoon in left field with Alejandro De Aza, a left-handed hitter who batted .270/.340/.426 against right-handed pitching. He could be a fallback option if the Orioles are unable to retain Young, who is reportedly seeking a two-year deal.
Denorfia also would be a cost-effective option in a free-spending market. He made $2.25 million this past season.