In the wee hours Monday morning, news broke across the baseball world that Max Scherzer would be signing with the Nationals for seven years and more than $180 million. A little farther up I-95, the forgotten middle child of the Mid-Atlantic sits and waits to find out whether GM Dan Duquette will head north of the border after all.
As far as the search for new players, well... there is the vague tidbit that the Orioles are out there looking for an outfielder. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and others reported the O's interest in an outfield bat in an article discussing the availability of Colorado's Charlie Blackmon in a trade.
The dots don't even connect to the Orioles within that article; there's nothing linking them to Blackmon specifically, just the idea that Blackmon is available and the Orioles are searching for an outfielder. Even if you wanted to get your hopes up for the 28-year-old first-time All-Star, which you probably shouldn't because he OPSed .698 in the second half of the season, there's not even any heat there.
MASN's Roch Kubatko reports that the O's are "doing their research" on Blackmon but haven't engaged in any discussions. We know how the discussions will go. The other team will ask for Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, or Hunter Harvey, and that will be the end of the discussions. So really, don't even worry about whether there would be Blackmon on the team or if he'd be any good.
Maybe there's some team out there who would take a Christian Walker-type position player or a Tyler Wilson-type pitcher for their own spare outfielder. If that's the case, maybe the O's can match up with someone who has sane demands. That did not end up happening when the O's inquired about Marlon Byrd earlier in the offseason, but there are other teams and other outfielders.
Other outfielders who've reportedly gotten interest from the Orioles include Arizona's David Peralta and Ender Inciarte, both of whom are left-handed hitting outfielders who made their major league debuts in 2014. Inciarte, who at 24 is the younger of the two by three years, burned up the basepaths in the minor leagues, with 46 steals across two levels in 2012 against 12 times caught. He racked up another 43 steals at Double-A Mobile in 2013 with only eight times caught.
Another plus for Inciarte comes in the form of his Defensive Runs Saved, which was a plus-23 in 909 outfield innings, mostly in center field. With the new Arizona GM opining that "real" baseball teams don't use analytics, maybe they would be dumb enough to part with him for peanuts - but given that it hasn't happened yet, we're probably not that lucky.
Peralta, who's 27, had never appeared above the Double-A level before the 2014 season, but after being called up to the big leagues he batted .286/.320/.450 in 88 games. In that limited action, he still managed to hit nine triples. The 2014 O's as a team had 16 triples, with no one player having more than three. He'd be an interesting name for the mix, if the price was right, but as with Inciarte, it seems that it isn't yet.
The Diamondbacks have extra outfielders around, so those guys may not be needed. That's who the O's will probably end up getting, some team's extra guy they don't want any more. Which is how they got their last couple of outfield trades done, come to think of it, when they got David Lough last offseason and Alejandro De Aza in a midseason trade.
Another team that might have an extra outfielder is the Pirates, who have an outfield that should be filled up by Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco, and a lefty outfielder, Travis Snider, who is not one of those guys.
Snider, a one-time first-round pick with Toronto who debuted in MLB at 20, will be 27 at the start of the season and has never lived up to his potential. He had the best season of his career in 2014, batting .264/.338/.438 with 13 home runs, but that was still only about a half a season worth of plate appearances. Snider is due to make $2.1 million in 2015, which is a lot of money for a bench guy on a team that only had a $71 million payroll in the '14 season. For the O's, though, that could be just right for a platoon partner for Steve Pearce.
If you want to get down to what's left on the free agent market, there's Colby Rasmus, about whom the O's were curious enough that they sent Buck Showalter to have dinner with him. That dinner has not resulted in an immediate signing, though, so they must not have been head over heels. That's too bad, because after all, Rasmus would only cost money and only for one year. Baseball teams are always getting more money. Maybe it isn't actually too bad if the reason they haven't signed him is that they don't think he'll be that good.
All offseason, the O's have maintained that they seem happy to go into next season picking between the likes of Lough, De Aza, Pearce, and Dariel Alvarez for their corner outfield spots. They might even mean it. If the right deal comes along, great. If not, they've got some guys around already, and hopefully that would turn out nicely also.
Remember, as always, the law of baseball rumors: Probably nothing will happen.