One official told me that the Orioles never had serious interest in Japanese pitcher Kenshin Kawakami. The Braves have contacted every team, trying to unload the right-hander and a portion of his contract. The Orioles listened but weren’t close to making a deal.
The Orioles want to add a veteran starting pitcher, but the bullpen, first base and shortstop are higher priorities.
The Orioles are still interested in re-signing Cesar Izturis to be their everyday shortstop or backup middle infielder. Either way, they want him back if a deal can be worked out. Izturis, of course, will seek a starting job before accepting a reserve role with the Orioles.
Speaking of shortstops, one person told me that the Jason Bartlett trade talks are “100 percent dead.” Someone else mentioned that it wasn’t as close to completion yesterday as it might have appeared. Neither side had signed off on it. But it most definitely was heading in that direction at one point.
President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail tried to keep the door slightly ajar last night by telling reporters that nothing is dead until a player is “off the board.”
Izturis and J.J. Hardy look like the more viable options at this moment.
Last winter, MacPhail stated that he didn’t want to sign a full-time designated hitter, preferring to rotate players in that spot and possess more flexibility. That philosophy remains in place this winter, but there’s at least a slightly better chance that the Orioles sign a full-time DH if they can’t find a significant upgrade first base. And they’d have to figure out what to do with Luke Scott.