Play the outfield? Baltimore Orioles are interested


It is just another day in the offseason of the 2015 Baltimore Orioles team.

Ken Rosenthal is reporting today that the San Diego Padres are looking to move Seth Smith and the Orioles are among the teams interested.

It is no secret that the Baltimore Orioles are looking for help in their outfield and it seems like every day they are linked to someone new.

After losing Nelson Cruz to Seattle and Nick Markakis to Atlanta, the Orioles find themselves in need of replacing two corner outfielders that contributed to much of the success in 2014. It also makes sense that Oriole fans want an immediate reaction to the losses.

So when Melky Cabrera signed a three-year, $42 million contract with the Chicago White Sox yesterday, the outrage from fans was expected. He was the best free agent outfield player available and there was speculation that the Orioles were interested.

More from Baltimore Orioles

There are so many rumors online that it is easy to get caught up in all the hype and drama that comes along with it at this time of the year. There are teams that have spent large amounts on free agents, while others have made big splashes through trades. As stated previously, that’s just not how the Baltimore front office does business.

Manager Buck Showalter told reporters at the winter meetings that if he had to name his lineup right now it would be Steve Pearce in right field to replace Markakis. His focus was on who is going to be the designated hitter in the upcoming season, not the outfield.

"“Really the only thing we don’t have, even though we’ve made three subtractions, is who’s going to DH?” Showalter said. “Other than that, I could tell you what we’d break camp with right now as starters.”"

Sorry Buck. We aren’t buying it.

Sure, the Orioles have been quiet thus far, but what have we learned about their offseason plans through all the rumors? They plan to make some kind of move in the outfield.

Dec 10, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles manager

Buck Showalter

talks with reporters during the MLB Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Mandatory Credit:

David Manning


Showalter has options in Alejandro De Aza, David Lough and Pearce that could all rotate at the corner outfield positions. Cuban defectors Dariel Alvarez and Henry Urrutia figure to make a push for playing time in spring training. But if all the buzz about the Orioles is true, more help is on the way.

Delmon Young could be welcomed back, but only in the same role he played a season ago. There have been rumblings that Nate McLouth and Nolan Reimold could return to the team. Cabrera, Colby Rasmus and Michael Morse are just some of the free agents that have been linked to Baltimore. According to Roch Kubatko, there have been discussions of a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies involving Marlon Byrd and Ryan Howard.

You can see why the Orioles have had discussions with the Phillies about a Byrd-Howard deal. It would certainly give Baltimore an upgrade at both the outfield and DH positions. Byrd would be an ideal fit because his $8 million deal is within the means of team’s budget. He provides good pop and fills one of the vacated corner outfield spots. Adam Jones, De Aza and Byrd could arguably be a better all-around group in terms of power, athleticism and defense than the trio from a season ago.

Howard, a former National League MVP, is the snag in the deal. While he has posted great career totals, he is a shell of his former self since suffering an Achilles injury in the 2011 postseason and carries a hefty price tag of $60 million owed over the next two seasons. As nice as the outfield combination would be, a lineup that featured so many free swingers in Howard, Jones and Chris Davis would not be ideal. Let’s mention that a move for Howard would likely put Davis in the outfield more frequently.

It is intriguing that there has been no news of the Orioles reaching out to free agent Josh Willingham. While Willingham announced in November that he plans to retire, it does not hurt to reach out to someone who fits the team need of someone who can play both DH and outfield. Willingham, 34, had his best season in 2012 with the Minnesota Twins, where he batted .260 with career highs in home runs (35) and RBIs (110). Baltimore placed a waiver claim on Willingham the following season in August 2013, but a deal with the Twins never materialized.

If there is one thing we can count on, it is that Showalter, Dan Duquette and company will do their due diligence by continuing to scour the league for options. Remember, it wasn’t until late last February that Cruz was signed and it was heralded as one of the best moves in baseball.

Buck can make it seem as though the Orioles have the outfielders they need internally, but the reality is that the league and its fans know that is not the case.

Based on the reports of activity this offseason, it is only a matter of time before someone makes the journey to Baltimore. It just remains to be seen who and when.

Until then, we are all at the mercy of the rumor mill.