Despite national reports linking them with big-ticket left fielders that appear to be out of the club's financial comfort zone, the Orioles continue to pursue
The two sides maintained a dialogue after McLouth became an unrestricted free agent Oct. 29, and two industry sources said Friday the Orioles are still optimistic that the 31-year-old, left-handed hitter will return in 2013.
An agreement does not appear imminent, however, and Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette would not characterize any discussions he's had with McLouth's representation.
"We're just reaching out to a number of free agents and he is one of them," Duquette said.
McLouth went from June waiver wire claim to a starting spot in the Orioles outfield by August. When
After the Game 5 ALDS loss in New York, McLouth said he "absolutely" wanted to return to the Orioles, but his strong play down the stretch likely has made the former All-Star more coveted in the open market.
Neither McLouth nor his agent could be reached for comment.
If he re-signs, the Orioles would have nine outfielders potentially competing for jobs in
Duquette returns from General Manager meetings
Duquette flew back East on Friday night from California, where he had spent the past three days at the annual general manager meetings. Duquette said he met directly with representatives from 10 to 12 teams directly and had conversations with another dozen or so clubs. He also met with "five or six" players' agents while at the meetings. He said no deals or signings were imminent.
"We're in the groundwork stage, but it's coming along," he said.
No bid for Ryu
Duquette said the Orioles did not enter a formal bid to negotiate with Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has been posted by the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization.
According to CBS Sports, the winning bid to negotiate with the 25-year-old Ryu, who will be represented by agent Scott Boras, was $25.7 million.
Lew Ford signs minor league deal
Ford, who was removed from the club's 40-man roster last week, has signed a minor league deal with the Orioles that includes a spring training invitation, Duquette said. Ford, 36, hit .183 with three homers in 25 games for the Orioles in 2012. He had sports hernia surgery in October and is expected to be ready to play by spring training. MASNSports.com first reported Ford's minor league deal.