The word from around the Warehouse is that the
But that gives us the perfect opportunity to take a look at some of the top remaining free agents. The options aren't plentiful. And the O's could make a run at several – or at none – but given the organization's needs, here's a look at the club's top free-agent possibilities.
- OF Yoenis Cespedes: You’ve obviously already seen the
YouTubevideo – which makes most people sore from just watching it. Physically, Cespedes is as impressive as they come, so the 26-year-old Cuban defector will have his share of suitors. Reports Friday from the Dominican said the Orioles are one of the six teams that have shown the most interest. The Cuban defector is largely an unknown – there is some debate whether he truly is major league ready, especially when it comes to his plate discipline – which could drive down his value. He went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in his Dominican Winter League debut Thursday. But the Marlinshave made it known they’re willing to pay big money for Cespedes. The Tigerswill be a player as well. The Orioles will have to see how the market plays out. For now, they wait for him to officially establish Dominican residency and become a free agent.
Edwin Jackson: The Orioles are undoubtedly interested in Jackson, and signing him would be an ideal finish to an offseason dedicated to solidifying the organization’s starting pitching. He’s a veteran at the age of 28 and is seeking a five-year deal and worth between $15 million and $17 million annually. Teams are standing pat on that, including the Orioles, who historically haven’t given pitchers deals of more than three years. He is the best available starting pitcher on the market, so if there’s an in-between here – four years for a lesser price – the O’s might be game.
Johnny Damon: Once former Oriole Luke Scottsigned with the Rays, it was obvious Damon wasn’t returning to Tampa Bay. He is an interesting fit. He can provide the DH bat the Orioles have been looking for, and Duquette signed him with Boston. He showed last year (.261/.326/.418, 16 HRs, 29 doubles ) that he can still hit at age 38 and has a reputation for being a good clubhouse guy, which is always a plus. He also would be an easy solution to fill the leadoff spot if second baseman Brian Robertshasn’t recovered from his concussion problems.
- OF Jorge Soler: While most of the attention has been given to Cespedes, Soler, a 19-year-old Cuban defector, could have more upside. He’s a lean, 6-foot-3 hitter who could play all three outfield spots and has speed the Orioles need. He’s not yet major league ready, so he won’t be an immediate contributor. It's unclear how much interest the O’s have in Soler, and he’s quickly becoming a more cost-effective alternative to Cespedes. Still, given the Orioles’ commitment to international scouting, you know they are actively observing Soler.
Carlos Penaand Casey Kotchman: The Orioles don’t have a need at first base, but Pena and Kotchman are both premier fielders at first who can add pop to a lineup. Right now, it looks like the Indians have the most interest in both, but the Rays could also bring both back to Tampa Bay. But since the Orioles would like to add another bat, these two are legitimate options.
Roy Oswalt: As the market on the 34-year-old slides, the Orioles might just raise their eyelids to the idea of Oswalt. He’s only seeking a one-year deal and his price has reportly dropped to $8 million. But he seems like a better fit for a contender like the Rangers, Yankeesor Red Sox.
Prince Fielder: As much as Orioles fans love the idea of Fielder hitting balls into the right-field flag court of Camden Yards, it’s highly unlikely that he will be wearing orange and black next year. His sitiuation is fluid, however, and you never quite know what hand agent Scott Boras will play with the 27-year-old slugger. But every day Fielder remains on the free-agent market, the possibility remains.
The Orioles seemingly would like to obtain another reliever.
could all be options, as could
, who was given his first chance to close by Orioles manager
in Texas. There are also starting pitcher options –