Possible Orioles free agent targets
Let's face it, you like speculation. We like speculation.
And, at this point in the baseball calendar, all we can provide you is speculation -- we like to call it an educated guess -- as to whom the Orioles may target this offseason.
So take this list for what it is worth: an early look at some of the more intriguing names that are or could be available. (A new group of players will enter the market after Nov. 30, when clubs choose whether to tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players)
Also, keep in mind that Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette prefers to build from the bottom up, so he's more focused on strengthening the farm system and club depth than he is buying high-ticket items.
But this is the first time in a decade-plus that Baltimore is a somewhat desirable destination. And surely the Orioles will do their due diligence in free agency, even if ultimately they don't make a splash.
Here are some names to keep in mind. There surely will be more to consider as the hot stove season progresses. The Orioles own free agents, such as pitcher Joe Saunders and outfielder Nate McLouth, are not included. But you can assume the club will make a run at those two.
No specific dollar figures or contract lengths are mentioned at this point. Even we think that speculation is too early.
-- Dan Connolly
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Zack Greinke( Jeff Gross, Getty Images / August 30, 2012 )
The 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner just turned 29 and is without a doubt the best unrestricted free agent pitcher. The Angels right-hander's market may be limited, however, because he has dealt with depression and anxiety orders and there is a question as to how comfortable he would be in a big market. That certainly works in the Orioles' favor. The potential price tag doesn't.
Orioles' bottom line: The club has never given a contract beyond three years to a free agent pitcher. And Greinke surely will command that. But the fact that the big boys may not be in play, makes this one a little -- and only a little -- more realistic.