Duquette meeting with Young’s agent

SAN DIEGO - Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette is meeting today with the representative for free agent Delmon Young, and the club is viewed as a favorite to re-sign the veteran outfielder.

One scout from another organization considers the Orioles an overwhelming favorite despite Young’s preference for a two-year deal. The club seemed reluctant earlier in the offseason to guarantee more than one year.

The Orioles are in the market for right-handed and left-handed bats for the outfield and designated hitter slot. Young isn’t regarded as strong defensively, but there’s no questioning that he can hit.

young-high-fives-alds.pngAfter signing a minor league deal in January, Young batted .302/.337/.442 with 11 doubles, a triple, seven home runs and 30 RBIs in 83 games. He went 10-for-20 as a pinch-hitter during the regular season and provided one of the most electrifying moments in Camden Yards history by coming off the bench to deliver a three-run, go-ahead double in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.

Young batted .316/.345/.481 with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 47 games and 130 plate appearances at Camden Yards. Also, he posted a better slash line against right-handers, batting .312/.357/.452.

Young has been in the postseason in six consecutive years with four different teams, which brings added appeal to the Orioles.

Losing Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis to free agency heightened the urgency for the Orioles to improve their outfield depth and bolster their lineup. Duquette told reporters yesterday that they’re more likely to sign a free agent than make a trade.

“I think these free agent possibilities are going to come into play and focus a little bit quicker than the trade possibilities,” Duquette said. “These things go hand in hand, but it just looks like there are more free agents that are closer to signing than the trades.”

Duquette’s reluctance to deal his starting pitchers further complicates the process. For instance, talks with the Dodgers regarding outfielder Matt Kemp never gained traction due to their insistence on getting Kevin Gausman or Dylan Bundy. Factor in the lingering health concerns, and the discussions didn’t get hot.

Kemp, 30, is owed $21 million in 2015 and $21.5 million in each of the following four seasons. He went on the disabled list five times in two years before appearing in 150 games this season. He’s had two surgeries on his left shoulder and one on his left ankle.

Duquette said he hasn’t met with the Braves regarding outfielder Justin Upton, who’s got one year remaining on his contract.

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