The countdown is on until spring training – 23 days if you're really counting – and the Orioles are still looking for a corner outfielder.
It's not like they haven't addressed the issue. They signed South Korean outfielder Hyun-soo Kim to two-year, $7 million deal and he will likely play left field. They traded for Mark Trumbo, and even though he has spent time in the outfield, he's best suited to play first base. Now that the Orioles have Chris Davis signed, Trumbo will likely see most of his at bats at designated hitter.
The Orioles' lengthy courtship of Davis probably didn't help their pursuit of a high-impact outfield bat. They liked all the big names – Ben Zobrist, Alex Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton – but Davis was the fish they needed to catch before casting another line for an outfield bat.
Dexter Fowler is still out there, but he's tied to draft-pick compensation and the Orioles don't want to give up their first-round pick – currently 14th overall – to sign a free agent, so it looks like he's not a target.
The Orioles could go for a left-handed platoon bat, someone like Will Venable or David Murphy, and the club has liked both players in the past. But the whole platoon thing didn't work out well last season.
It would be interesting to see the Orioles make a play for a bounce-back candidate like free-agent outfielder Austin Jackson, who has moved around the past two years since being a serviceable leadoff man in his early years with the Detroit Tigers. Jackson can hit the ball, has good speed, led the American League in triples twice and will turn just 29 next month, so he might be worth a one-year flier.
I'm still surprised the Orioles didn't make a play to retain Steve Pearce, who settled for a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. Pearce was a clubhouse favorite, so I can't imagine that one sits well with some of the veteran core players. It didn't seem to be a money issue with Pearce. The powers that be just didn't want him.
If the season started today, you'd probably see Nolan Reimold as the starting right fielder. Right now, he's the leading internal candidate for that role, even though LJ Hoes, Dariel Alvarez and Henry Urrutia would like to have something to say about that this spring training.
Reimold didn't have a great year last season – he hit .247/.344/.394 in 61 games in 2015 – but he did post a .274/.391/.466 slash line (that's an .857 OPS) in the final month of the season.
He is finally healthy, having seemingly put neck issues that cost him most of two seasons behind him. He began the 2014 season on the disabled list, and he started last year in Triple-A. But now, he has done enough to be atop the list of internal starting outfield candidates.
Perhaps most importantly, Reimold has a track record for getting on base, which is something the Orioles need this season after tying for third last in the AL in OBP in 2015.
Filling that corner-outfield hole is more than an offensive issue. Last year, center fielder Adam Jones had to cover a lot of ground, and he had perhaps his best defensive first half of the season. But Jones needs help this year so he can preserve his health through the physical grind of the season.
He will need some help this year. And Kim is a relative unknown defensively. He looked like he could cover come ground in the YouTube videos we've seen, but he's also a big man. So whoever the Orioles choose to place in right field, they will have to keep defensive range in mind.
Obviously, there's still plenty of time to sort out the right field situation, but time is running out. And who knows? Maybe Reimold will get the job.
Lough to Phillies
Speaking of outfielders, former Orioles outfielder David Lough signed a minor league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday.
Since it's a minor league deal, Lough basically provided the Phillies with some outfield depth if he's needed. Lough is out of minor league options, so if he received a major league deal, he would have to clear waivers before being sent to the minors.
Lough's two seasons with the Orioles were underwhelming. Lough took incredible care of his body, but could never put it all together on the field. Lough had his opportunities, but he struggled at the plate and also squandered several base-running opportunities off the bench.
However, I will never forget his walk-off homer in the 10th inning of the Orioles' 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox on April 25.
His two-run shot came moments after Camden Yards was temporarily under lockdown because of the unrest in the city rooting from the death of Freddie Grey. As the game went to extra innings, fans were unable to exit the ballpark -- police officers blocked doors and gates were locked -- because of a fear that the public's safety was at risk.
All in all, it was one of the most bizarre nights I've seen in my years covering sports.
Hot Stove baseball talk
For the sixth straight year, our old friend Dan Connolly will hold his annual Hot Stove baseball talk at the Zion Lutheran Church in York, Pa., on Thursday at 7 p.m.
This year's special guest is Philadelphia Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock, who has been with the organization since 2008 and served as the Phillies interim general manager during part of the 2015 season. Prior to joining the Phillies, Proefrock spent three years as director of baseball administration/assistant GM for the Orioles.
Other speakers include Mel Antonen, a baseball writer for SI.com, panelist for MASN and a Sirius/XM talk show host, and Connolly, who most recently covered baseball at The Baltimore Sun and authored "100 Things Orioles Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die." The panelists will present their thoughts on the upcoming season and will answer questions from the audience. There is no admission fee, but a free-will offering will be taken to benefit the church's youth ministry program. Inscribed copies of Connolly's book will be available for sale after the event.
The event will be held at the church's sanctuary, 2215 Brandywine Lane, York. For more information, contact the church at 717-767-4673.