If odds were placed on which starting pitcher eventually signs with the Orioles, A.J. Burnett currently would be deemed the long shot.
The Baltimore/Monkton angle doesn’t seem to be working. While negotiations aren’t dead, one industry source says it “doesn’t look good” because Burnett would rather stay in the National League, where he posted a 3.41 ERA in two seasons with the Pirates.
The Orioles remain in the running for Bronson Arroyo, Ubaldo Jimenez and Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon, according to sources. No mention of Ervin Santana, who, like Jimenez, would cost the Orioles the 17th-overall pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.
Arroyo, approaching his 37th birthday, reportedly would settle for a two-year deal worth $22 million. The years work for the Orioles, but the annual value of the contract could be a sticking point.
Arroyo has made at least 32 starts in the last nine seasons since totaling 29 with the Red Sox in 2004. He’s reached 200 innings or more in eight of last nine seasons, falling one inning short with the Reds in 2011.
Yoon wouldn’t satisfy the Orioles’ need for an accomplished major league pitcher and an innings-eater for the top portion of the rotation. However, they watched him throw last weekend and want to bring him into the organization.
Yoon reportedly is seeking a multi-year deal. To get one from the Orioles, they would have to be satisfied that his right shoulder is sound and forget about the $8.15 million wasted on Tsuyoshi Wada, who never threw a pitch for them.
Burnett could return to the Pirates. The Phillies were assumed to be one of the favorites, moving ahead of the Orioles, but Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com wrote today that it’s “not likely” due to comments from general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
Here’s an excerpt:
Citing team policy, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. refused to talk specifically about any remaining free-agent pitchers. He acknowledged that he’s always on the lookout for potential upgrades, but didn’t sound like a guy planning for one in the short term.
“I don’t suspect we’ll be doing anything,” he said Friday. “I think we’ve got what we’ve got. I suspect we’ll go into the season with what we’ve got - or at least spring training with what we’ve got. We’re always looking, always trolling. I know there are guys out there, but I don’t suspect us having anything major coming through.”
Burnett, who earned $16.5 million last season, qualifies as a “major” signing.
As always, keep in mind that the free agent landscape can change with one phone call. I’m just providing an update at this hour.
Note: The Brewers reportedly have reached agreement with reliever Francisco Rodriguez on a one-year deal worth $3.25 million, plus another $550,000 in possible incentives.
The Orioles talked to Rodriguez’s agent about bringing back the right-hander in a set-up role. However, as I wrote here last month, the Brewers also were interested in a reunion.