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Orioles have 'lukewarm' interest in Nori Aoki and Colby Rasmus, source says

Orioles have 'lukewarm' interest in Nori Aoki and Colby Rasmus, source says
Free-agent outfielder Nori Aoki. (Joy R. Absalon, USA Today Sports)

Count the Orioles among the teams who have inquired about free-agent outfielders Colby Rasmus and Nori Aoki, but the team's interest in both players is "lukewarm," according to a club source.

After watching Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis depart in free agency last week, the Orioles are seeking additional outfield help here at the winter meetings in San Diego.

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Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said Monday that he believes the club has opportunities to sign a free-agent outfielder. The team also has had conversations with Delmon Young and hopes to meet with his representatives this week in San Diego.

Both Rasmus and Aoki bat from the left side. Duquette said he ideally would like to acquire one left-handed hitter and one right-handed hitter. The Orioles have slightly more interest in Rasmus than Aoki, the source said, presumably because of his track record of hitting for more power.

One available left-handed hitter came off the board Monday when the Cleveland Indians acquired Brandon Moss from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for minor league second baseman Joe Wendle.

Rasmus, 28, hit .225/.287/.448 with 18 home runs and 40 RBIs in 104 games with the Blue Jays last season. Aoki, 32, batted .285/.349/.360 and was 17 of 25 on stolen-base attempts in 132 games with the Kansas City Royals in 2014.

In his first season in the American League, Aoki hit just one home run, a significant dropoff from his first two major league seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. Aoki hit 10 homers in 2012 and eight in 2013. He is reportedly seeking a three­year deal.

The Orioles also are searching for possible leadoff hitters to replace Markakis.

Alejandro De Aza would be the team's projected leadoff hitter right now. Aoki made 104 starts last season in the leadoff spot, hitting .270/.336/.344.

Around the horn

Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, a San Diego native, is scheduled to participate in a hitting exhibition Tuesday as part of a clinic and showcase camp for RBI Baseball (Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities) at Tony Gwynn Stadium at San Diego State University. ... The Golden Era committee did not elect any candidates to the Hall of Fame. Dick Allen and Tony Oliva came one vote short of election, and Jim Kaat was two votes shy.

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