I always look forward to MLBTradeRumors.com’s list of the Top 50 Free Agents and where they may end up.
The Orioles are projected to sign three of them, including left-hander Joe Saunders, who started seven games after being acquired from the Diamondbacks, and two more in the playoffs.
I’ll agree with that prediction. He’s the kind of reasonably priced veteran starter that executive vice president Dan Duquette is seeking, and Saunders would like to return. Plus, he’s kinda/sorta local as a Virginia native.
Another free agent linked to the Orioles is outfielder Nick Swisher, tabbed as the sixth-best player on the market. Here’s the explanation:
6. Nick Swisher - Orioles. Swisher hasn’t played left field regularly in many years, but if he’s willing to do so for the Orioles they could be a match. The 31-year-old also plays some first base, another question mark for the O’s. Swisher would be a fine addition to any lineup, though he doesn’t pass the gut test as a potential $100MM player. Perhaps we just have to account for salary inflation - $100MM doesn’t buy what it used to. The Giants and Mariners are other reasonable fits here.
Swisher reportedly wants Jayson Werth money. I still want Salma Hayek. Between the two of us, I have a better chance of reaching my goal.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Orioles make a run at him. They’d like to re-sign Nate McLouth. They’d like Nolan Reimold to stay healthy for an entire season. We already know what I want. Life is full of challenges.
If the Orioles must venture outside the organization for a left fielder, I’d expect them to show interest in Shane Victorino and Torii Hunter, tabbed by MLBTradeRumors.com to sign with the Braves and Yankees, respectively.
Though they have internal options, the Orioles figure to pursue a second baseman as insurance in case Brian Roberts can’t fulfill the final year of his contract. MLBTradeRumors.com predicts they will sign Jeff Keppinger, which sounds right to me. Here’s the explanation:
41. Jeff Keppinger - Orioles. Keppinger was non-tendered by the Giants a year ago, but the high-contact infielder bounced back to hit .325/.367/.439 for the Rays in 418 plate appearances. Obviously that production is unsustainable, but it might net the 32-year-old a multiyear deal or a starting gig. The Orioles are one possibility, though they do have internal options at second base.
Kevin Youkilis is considered a possibility for the Orioles, as well, though he’s projected to sign with the Phillies. Melky Cabrera also is viewed as a potential fit, but would the Orioles really go there? I don’t think so.