It has been a busy offseason for the Baltimore Orioles, who did a solid job of retaining quality free agents such as Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and Darren O'Day. But did that come at the expense of the rotation?
With spring training just a few weeks away, the Orioles are still looking to add a starter to a group that saw Wei-Yin Chen depart for an $80 million deal with the Marlins.
The Orioles have done their due diligence on Yovani Gallardo, but executive VP Dan Duquette appears very reluctant to give up the 14th overall draft pick as part of the compensation for signing Gallardo.
Roch Kubatko of MASNSports says we should "keep an eye" on the Padres' Andrew Cashner, a free agent after this season who is on the Orioles' radar. Cashner, who will make a reasonable $7.15 million in 2016, slipped to 6-16 with a 4.34 ERA last year, but did throw a career-high 184.2 innings.
Right-hander Mat Latos is a free-agent option, but "his toxic attitude is a deterrent," says Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Cafardo quotes an NL official who says "you would need a strong manager to keep him in line and acting the way you want him to act." Orioles skipper Buck Showalter would fit that bill perfectly.
Meanwhile, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports the Orioles have kicked the tires on bringing back Jeremy Guthrie, who last pitched in Baltimore in 2011. Encina also suggests the Orioles could take a flier on Tim Lincecum, who is coming off hip surgery.
Here are more rumors making the rounds on Groundhog Day:
Dexter Fowler: The White Sox and Rangers are "in play" for the free-agent outfielder, tweets David Kaplan. Both teams have been listed as possible suitors for Fowler in recent weeks, so perhaps they are looking for a bargain with spring training approaching. The 29-year-old Fowler quietly had a strong season for the Cubs in 2015 with 17 homers and 84 walks, but the slow-developing market for Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton stalled his job search as well.
Andre Ethier: Phil Rogers of MLB.com hears the White Sox are exploring the idea of a deal for Ethier, who is scheduled to make $35.5 million over the next two seasons with the Dodgers, as well as a vesting option for 2018. Rogers hears the Dodgers would prefer to deal Carl Crawford, but are getting more bites on Ethier, who enjoyed a bounce-back season in 2015 in which he hit .294/.366/.486 in 142 games. In all likelihood, a deal for Fowler would end any pursuit of Ethier.
Pedro Alvarez: There is virtually no chance the Yankees would be interested in Alvarez after learning that first base prospect Greg Bird will have right shoulder surgery Tuesday and miss the entire 2016 season. Alvarez wants regular at-bats and there will be none in the Bronx if Mark Teixeira stays healthy, reports John Harper of the New York Daily News.
Juan Uribe: The Cleveland Indians continue to target Uribe to be their third baseman, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. Uribe, who will be 37 next month, hit .253/.320/.417 for three teams last season, finishing with the Mets. In Cleveland, Uribe could split time with Giovanny Urshela, who hit .225/.279/.330 in 81 games last season.
Jonathan Lucroy: On Monday, we discussed how the Nationals were one of the teams interested in dealing for Lucroy. Ken Rosenthal tweets the Nationals are one of the eight teams on Lucroy's no-trade list. That does not preclude a trade, but Lucroy would insist on an extension in order to waive the no-trade clause. The 29-year-old Lucroy will make a modest $9.25 million over the next two seasons.
Christian Vazquez: The Red Sox are being cautious with Vazquez, who was penciled in as the No. 1 catcher last season before undergoing Tommy John surgery late in spring training, reports Ian Browne of MLB.com. Manager John Farrell already has signed off as Blake Swihart as his Opening Day catcher with veteran Ryan Hanigan as his backup.
Colorado Rockies: Rockies GM Jeff Bridich is comfortable entering the 2016 season with the team's current rotation, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. "As long as we have health," Bridich said. "It's something we talk about all of the time. But I like the competition ... I like our depth." Colorado is counting on healthy returns from Jorge De La Rosa, Tyler Chatwood and Jordan Lyles, as well as continued progress from Chad Bettis and Jon Gray. The team has been connected to Gallardo in recent weeks, but Bridich says the rumors have been "fairly overblown."
Ricky Nolasco: Despite being one of the highest paid players on the Twins, Nolasco isn't being guaranteed a rotation spot this season, manager Paul Molitor told KSTP's Darren Wolfson in a lengthy one-on-one interview. The 33-year-old has been a disaster for Minnesota since signing a four-year, $49 million deal with the team in 2013, posting ERAs well above 5.00 in each of the last two years. Ervin Santana, Kyle Gibson and Phil Hughes are expected to front the Twins' rotation if healthy this year, while Tyler Duffey has a "really good chance" to earn a spot, according to Molitor. Tommy Milone, Trevor May and top prospect Jose Berrios will also be considered.
Coco Crisp: Another expensive veteran that could see a reduced role on his small-market team this year is Crisp. The Athletics are hoping Crisp will be healthy and productive in 2016, but his recent seasons suggest that is unlikely. As a result, the team might be best served to use Crisp as a pinch-hitter off the bench, Jane Lee of MLB.com suggests. While keeping the 36-year-old and his $11 million salary on the bench might be a tough pill for Oakland to swallow, the move would surely help preserve Crisp for a full season. Mark Canha, Sam Fuld, Jake Smolinski and Andrew Lambo are other possibilities for the team to use in left field.