The Orioles continue to check the trade market for left-handed hitting outfielders in case they can’t sign free agent Colby Rasmus.
One potential match could be found in Colorado, where Charlie Blackmon has been made available, according to FOX Sports.
From what I’ve gathered, the Orioles haven’t engaged in talks with the Rockies concerning Blackmon, but they’re doing their homework on him and could get involved.
The Rockies apparently are seeking a starting pitcher in return for Blackmon, and the Orioles have extras. They’d certainly be willing to return Ubaldo Jimenez to Colorado, where he spent the first six seasons of his major league career and went 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA in 2010.
I’m not sure the Rockies would bite on that one.
They may as well ask for the Bromo-Seltzer Tower. Or Josh Charles.
Blackmon, 28, brings appeal in various areas. He’s not a free agent until 2019 despite his age, he’s a career .290/.329/.430 hitter in parts of four major league seasons, he plays all three outfield positions and his splits are balanced. He’s a career .289/.331/.433 hitter against right-handers and a .292/.321/.420 hitter against left-handers.
The Orioles could use a leadoff hitter to replace Nick Markakis, and most of Blackmon’s starts have come atop the order, where he’s a career .284/.324/.440 hitter in 167 games.
Blackmon batted .288/.335/.440 with 27 doubles, three triples, 19 home runs and 72 RBIs last season and made his first All-Star team. His value is at its highest. However, he hit .305/.349/.479 with 14 home runs in the first half and only .264/.314/.384 with five home runs in the second.
Most alarming are Blackmon’s splits home and away.
Blackmon is a career .335/.383/.502 hitter at Coors Field and a .243/.272/.356 hitter on the road. Last season, he batted .331/.391/.524 at home and .241/.269/.348 away from it.
In three games at Camden Yards, Blackmon went 3-for-7 with a double, home run, three RBIs and three runs scored. Small sample size, but still...
For whatever reason, Blackmon’s best months are April (.374/.418/.616) and September (.328/.370/.483). None of the others come close.
Anyway, the Orioles are giving some consideration to Blackmon, but nothing is hot at the moment. They’re doing some research. And the name wasn’t dismissed when I ran it past someone last night, for what it’s worth.
The Astros reportedly have made Dexter Fowler available, but I was told that he’s not a fit for the Orioles.
Fowler is a switch-hitter who turns 29 next month. He can become a free agent following the 2015 season and he’s almost exclusively a center fielder.
I say “almost” because he played one inning in right field in 2008. He also played one game in right in the minors in 2005.
The Orioles already have a center fielder. I hear he’s pretty good, too.
The appeal for me is Fowler’s lifetime .366 on-base percentage over seven major league seasons, the first six with the Rockies. He batted .276/.375/.399 with 21 doubles, four triples, eight home runs and 35 RBIs last year.
Note: Outfielder Quintin Berry reportedly has signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox.
Berry appeared in 10 games with the Orioles in September, going 0-for-2 with a stolen base and three runs scored. He batted .285/.382/.367 in 112 games at Triple-A Norfolk.