Duchscherer offered major league deal (and accepts it)

An Orioles source confirmed tonight that the club has offered free-agent pitcher Justin Duchscherer a major league deal for the 2011 season.

The Orioles are one of the finalists for Duchscherer and could learn of his decision early this week.

Duchscherer threw for an Orioles scout Friday in Arizona and obviously made a strong impression.

If he signs, Duchscherer will compete for a spot at the back of the rotation. He's also been a reliever in his professional career, but the Orioles aren't looking for another right-hander for their bullpen. And Duchscherer isn't going to sign with a team that uses him in relief.

The Nationals are reportedly another team in the mix for Duchscherer, though he might find more competition for a rotation spot in Viera, Fla., than Sarasota.

Update: ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that Duchscherer has reached agreement with the Orioles on a deal that could pay him $4.5 million in salary and incentives, and I just received confirmation (not that I doubted it, but you know ...) The deal is pending a physical, of course.

The Orioles are only risking $1.1 million if he makes the club out of spring training. The rest is up to him.

If you were going to project the rotation on Opening Day, you'd probably be smart to go with Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen, Jake Arrieta and Duchscherer, though that's not etched in stone and it's not the certain order. But manager Buck Showalter got the veteran that he wanted, and more competition in Sarasota.

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