SAN DIEGO — The Orioles engaged in preliminary trade talks this week with the Pittsburgh Pirates on a deal involving left-handed pitcher Brian Matusz and Pirates outfielder Travis Snider, according to industry sources.
Like many discussions at the winter meetings, the talks were a foundation for a possible deal down the road, but nothing appeared imminent Wednesday night.
Snider, 26, hit .264 with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs in 322 at-bats with the Pirates last season. He is seen as an above-average defender who can play both corner outfield spots.
The Orioles are looking for outfield help after losing Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis last week. Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said he ideally wants to add one left-handed hitter and one right handed hitter who can slot into the outfield and at designated hitter.
Snider, a left-handed hitter, has never been an everyday player, but he appeared in a career-high 140 games in 2014. A career .246 hitter, Snider was 16-for-42 (.381) against left-handed pitching last season.
Snider, who is under team control for the next two seasons, made just $1.2 million last season in his first year of arbitration eligibility.
The Orioles believe Matusz, who is also under team control through the 2016 season, could draw significant value because other teams could see him as a possible starter. Matusz made $2.4 million last season and is projected to make about $2.7 million this season.
Matusz, who was 2-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 63 appearances in 2014, completed his second season as a full-time reliever. He has held left-handed hitters to a .211 average in his career, including .223 last season.
Even though his role diminished in the second half after the Orioles acquired left-hander Andrew Miller, Matusz had a 1.42 ERA after the break, holding hitters to a .188 average in 23 appearances.
The Orioles' talks with the Pirates were first reported by The Beaver County Times.