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Orioles rumors: Team has reached out about Justin Upton

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The Orioles seem to still have some money to burn. If it doesn't go to Chris Davis, it's going to somebody. The latest rumor is they've shown some interest in Justin Upton, who could land a comparable contract to Davis.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The theme of the week is that the Orioles aren't going to wait forever for Chris Davis to give them a sign that he wants to stay in Baltimore. The latest indication of that comes from CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, who notes that the O's have reached out to the agent for free agent outfielder Justin Upton.

Upton is not the left-handed bat that the O's have indicated they want to get, but he is a player who would address a big need for the team. Namely, the 28-year-old is an actual outfielder. He's also a consistently good hitter, maintaining a .271/.352/.453 batting line over a nine year big league career.

That's not perennial MVP candidate performance, of course. What it does represent is a player who has never in his career been a below-average hitter. There's no heartburn in thinking about him and wondering about some sub-Mendoza line season like Davis has on his resume. He is good, has been good for a number of years, and is young enough to have some reasonable expectation that he'll continue to be good. He's played at least 149 games in each of the last five seasons, so there don't seem to be any durability questions either.

Upton is a qualifying offer-attached free agent, which means that the O's would give up the #14 overall pick in the draft if they were to sign him. That's a price worth paying to get a number of years of a consistent performer at a position of need for the team.

The O's pursuing Upton, however serious they are about it, would seem to close the door on Davis if only because Upton is going to represent a significant annual expenditure. If they walked away from the Winter Meetings having given a big contract to Upton - he's projected by MLB Trade Rumors to end up getting seven years, $147 million - it's hard to imagine there'd be an equal amount of money still laying around to hand out to Davis. And the Orioles still need to address the rotation as well.

There's some indication the O's are working on that, too, as Heyman also reports that the O's have reached out to Scott Kazmir's camp. Whether or not you'd actually want the O's to sign Kazmir is a different question. But add it all up and it's still more pressure on Scott Boras, a reminder that the Orioles won't wait forever for his client. If a mystery team is going to show up to drive up the Davis price, that just hasn't happened yet.

It's not often a team plays a game of chicken with Boras and Boras is the one who blinks. This week, that seems to be what the Orioles are hoping will happen.