Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun">

Orioles' search for corner infielder could lead to Marlins' Ramirez



are trolling for a corner infielder who can get on base, and the

Miami Marlins

are apparently considering dealing three-time All-Star

Hanley Ramirez

, who owns a .374 career on-base percentage and switched from shortstop to third base this year.

So is there a fit between the clubs with Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline approaching?

Well, theoretically, absolutely. Realistically, probably not.





Especially considering the player that may best fill the Marlins' most pressing need, Orioles right fielder

Nick Markakis

, isn't likely going anywhere.

Orioles executive vice president

Dan Duquette

isn't revealing his trade discussions, but he is exploring corner-infield possibilities and that likely includes the Marlins, who began a fire sale Monday with the trade of infielder

Omar Infante

and right-handed starter

Anibal Sanchez

to the

Detroit Tigers


The Marlins' oft-injured but talented right-hander

Josh Johnson

also may be available, but Ramirez is considered the big fish. The 2006

National League Rookie of the Year

and 2009

National League

Most Valuable Player runner-up is just 28 and, though he is in his second consecutive down season, he still has 14 homers despite a .246 average and .322 on-base percentage through 92 games.

He also has pretty deep ties with Orioles personnel. Duquette was the general manager when the

Boston Red Sox

signed Ramirez as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2000. And Orioles hitting coach

Jim Presley

held the same role in Florida from 2006 to 2010, including in 2009 when Ramirez won the National League batting title.

The problem is the Orioles are reluctant to give up their top two prospects, Class-A Frederick pitcher

Dylan Bundy

and Double-A Bowie shortstop

Manny Machado

, and the rest of the Orioles' farm system is devoid of legitimate trade centerpieces.

One industry source said the Marlins would have interest in one of the club's young pitchers that hasn't had sustained success in the majors —

Jake Arrieta


Brian Matusz


Zach Britton

— but one of those hurlers and a lesser prospect or two probably wouldn't be good enough to land Ramirez, given the expected competition for his services, the source said.

The Marlins would like to acquire a strong defensive outfielder with a history of producing with runners in scoring position — something that has also plagued the Orioles. Florida's outfield, sans

Giancarlo Stanton

, is weak both offensively and defensively.

Therefore, Markakis, a 28-year-old

Gold Glove

outfielder, would be a perfect match — especially considering he and Ramirez have similar contracts (Markakis is guaranteed $32 million in his next two seasons, if a $2 million buyout for 2015 is included; Ramirez is owed $31.5 million total for 2013 and 2014).

But at least one club source suggested that trading Markakis is unlikely given his ties to the organization, popularity in the community, ability to hit leadoff and the fact he leads the team in on-base percentage (.350), a statistic that Duquette deems exceptionally important. The source said subtracting Markakis would create another hole and minimize the benefits of acquiring Ramirez.

Plus, Markakis can refuse a trade to eight to 10 teams each year. It's unknown whether the Marlins are on that list.

There's also a defensive aspect to a Markakis-Ramirez swap. Markakis is considered a plus defender in right field; there's mixed views on Ramirez's ability at third base. And the Orioles already lead the majors in errors. Taking Markakis out of the mix would further weaken an obvious deficiency.

Orioles manager

Buck Showalter

said he's not paying attention to the annual July rumor mill.

"Those type of [trade] things, I don't read it. … I know the names that are floating around just like they are every year," Showalter said. "I'd love for everyone to keep a tally sheet on what they're right about. From experience, I keep in mind the 'ol' throw it up against the wall and one sticks and I told you so.'

Orioles announce Urrutia signing

The Orioles officially announced Tuesday that they've signed Cuban defector

Henry Urrutia

to a minor-league contract and the 25-year-old outfielder will be assigned to Double-A Bowie after reporting to the Orioles'

spring training

complex in Sarasota.

Urrutia didn't play professionally last season because he was suspended after an unsuccessful defection attempt from Cuba, but he hit .350 (394-for-1127) over five seasons with Las Tunas of the Cuban League from 2006 to 2010.

The first Cuban defector signed as an amateur by the Orioles — they inked big-league free agent reliever

Danys Baez

before the 2007 season — Urrutia agreed to a $778,500 deal a few weeks ago.

Scott excited for Orioles fans

Former Oriole

Luke Scott

, who is on the

Tampa Bay Rays

' disabled list with a strained oblique, was at

Camden Yards

on Tuesday — his second series back since signing a free-agent deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.

And he said he hopes his old team — and his new one — can stay in playoff contention all season.

"This is such a great baseball town, so I think it is great," said Scott, who played four seasons with the Orioles and was Most Valuable Oriole in 2010. "I'm really happy for them."

Around the horn

Heading into Tuesday night, 56 of the Orioles' remaining 66 games are against clubs currently winning their respective divisions or teams within 4.5 games of the

American League

wild-card lead. … Infielder

Omar Quintanilla

made his first Orioles start at second base after starting at shortstop Monday. It also was his first start in front of the home crowd. … Reliever

Matt Lindstrom

, who hadn't pitched since taking a liner off his left knee on Friday, said some swelling and soreness remain in his upper calf, but was available to pitch.

Baltimore Sun reporter Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this article.