Orioles’ outfield search continues, Phillies offered Byrd and Howard

As Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette rushed to the airport in San Diego following the Rule 5 draft - we were on the same flight and he willingly chose a middle seat next to other team officials, while I grabbed an aisle seat and let everyone bump into my shoulder at least once - he didn’t sound like a man who expected to strike a deal over the weekend.

Duquette joked that I only asked whether he felt an agreement might be close so I’d know if it was safe to make plans.

young-looking-from-dugout-sidebar.jpgOne phone call can change the course of a weekend and negotiations, but you probably shouldn’t hold your breath.

The Orioles have varying levels of interest in the available outfielders, and it’s worth another reminder that Duquette said they’re more likely to sign one rather than make a trade.

Delmon Young and Michael Morse are garnering serious interest. Melky Cabrera comes into play only if he ends his search for a four- or five-year deal. The last time I checked, Nori Aoki fell into the “limited interest” category.

Four years for Cabrera works for me. He’s only 30, he’s a switch-hitter, he gets on base and he’s got a little pop. His highest strikeout total is 94 over 155 games with the Royals in 2011. Bat him second and lower Manny Machado in the order.

Plus, his nicknames are “Melk Man” and “Leche.” It just keeps getting better.

Colby Rasmus’ name was linked to the Orioles at the Winter Meetings, but he’s only played nine games in left field and six in right.

The Orioles talked to the Phillies about outfielder Marlon Byrd, and he was offered in a package that included first baseman Ryan Howard, according to multiple industry sources. Don’t hold your breath on that one, either.

The Phillies want to move Howard, 35, who has two years and a guaranteed $60 million remaining on his contract. He played in 153 games this season after being limited to 71 and 80 the past two seasons and batted .223/.310/.380 with 190 strikeouts.

I don’t like his chances of any team picking up that $23 million option for 2017.

There must be at least a hint of intrigue over Howard, who could serve primarily as the designated hitter and offer power from the left side - though not enough to approach the 58 home runs he hit in 2006. He also could brag to Tommy Hunter about his Subway endorsement deal.

Age, contract, previous injuries and the decline in production all conspire against him. I’d imagine that he’d be a hard sell to ownership.

Your thoughts?

Note: The Orioles signed pitcher Chaz Roe to a minor league deal, according to Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com.

Roe, 28, appeared in three games with the Yankees this season and allowed two earned runs (three total) in two innings. The former first-round pick of the Rockies in 2005 was 3-3 with a 3.66 ERA in 47 relief appearances with Triple-A New Orleans. He averaged 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

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