Baltimore Orioles Free-Agent Rumors: An Update on the Orioles' Current Rumors
The Orioles haven't made a ton of moves since the offseason started, but the team is not finished, and there are still some big free agents left without jobs.
Dan Duquette has already added three starters to the 40-man roster in Tsuyoshi Wada, Wei-Yin Chen and Dana Eveland, and they could add more on minor league deals to go with Armando Galarraga.
The big needs right now are at the top of the batting order, designated hitter and the bullpen, specifically at the closer position. Baltimore could also add a second baseman because it seems like Brian Roberts is not progressing well.
Here are some of the rumors swirling about some of the Orioles' potential moves.
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I mentioned Wilson Betemit in one of my first offseason wish lists and it appears I made the right call. The Orioles have apparently agreed to terms with Betemit, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
Betemit is a great pickup for the Orioles because he can DH or play third. This signing could potentially shift the infield as Mark Reynolds could DH or move to first base with Chris Davis as the DH. The Orioles also gain a switch-hitter, which gives them versatility. With Roberts hurt, Matt Wieters is the Orioles' only switch-hitter.
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Ayala was a dominant reliever for the Expos/Nationals from 2003 to 2005, but he suffered an elbow injury in the World Baseball Classic and was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery and missed 2006.
After struggling for the next few years, it seemed Luis Ayala would never return to dominance, but he had a resurgent season in 2011 for the Yankees. That season, Ayala set a career low in ERA at just 2.09. He would be a huge addition to the Orioles, who had the league's worst pitching in 2011.
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The Orioles had been linked to Cordero since last week, but Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweeted that the Orioles are one of four finalists for Cordero's services and that his decision could come by the end of the week. The other three teams are the Phillies, Blue Jays and Angels.
Baltimore may be a great choice for Cordero because the Orioles and Blue Jays are likely the only teams of the four to offer him the closer job. The Orioles project to have Jim Johnson closing games in 2012, but a more experienced closer could be a better choice.
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Orioles fans have been clamoring for Fielder all offseason and it seemed like they would have no shot at him, but the dwindling market may be working to their favor. Despite the Nationals being the clear favorite for Fielder, former Orioles executive Jim Duquette tweeted Monday morning that the Orioles are "definitely in on" Fielder.
Duquette, who is the cousin of current Orioles EVP Dan Duquette, went on to tweet that the motivation could be to work against the Nationals' rapid growth.
Don't let this get you hopes too high, though. Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports tweeted that the Orioles have not met with Scott Boras and don't plan to. They are unclear as to what the price will be and are not currently in position to sign Fielder.
Update: Prince Fielder has agreed to sign with the Detroit Tigers.
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From the response I have seen when I write about the Orioles' potential interest in Manny Ramirez, I can tell that a lot of people are very against signing him.
Dan Duquette has been very guarded when talking about any potential moves this offseason, so it's unclear what his interest is in Manny Ramirez. Steve Melewski of MASN Sports noted that while Duquette has not said anything in the affirmative about Manny, he has not denied interest when given the chance.
The Orioles have seen Manny take batting practice in Miami twice, so they are at least keeping tabs. I wouldn't expect a reunion between Duquette and the player he signed to one of the biggest deals ever, but the door remains open. It's worth noting that Manny will miss the first 50 games after signing, so the Orioles may not want the trouble.
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Another former Duquette player that the Orioles are looking at is Johnny Damon. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote recently that Duquette's admiration for Damon is clear whenever he talks about his former center fielder.
The O's are looking for a DH with a good OBP, and Damon fits the bill. He has a .353 OBP for his career, and Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters were the only Orioles that had a higher OBP than Damon in 2011. Damon could potentially come in as a DH and leadoff hitter in 2012.
With Luke Scott signing in Tampa, the Orioles and Rays could essentially be trading DHs if Damon comes to Baltimore. It would be a win for the Orioles.