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Orioles rumors: Dexter Fowler a possibility for O's if they sign Yovani Gallardo

Many ink and pixels have been spilled over whether the Orioles should give up the #14 pick to sign Yovani Gallardo - but if they do that, giving up the #29 pick to sign Dexter Fowler looks pretty tempting.

If the Orioles really do end up signing Yovani Gallardo, why stop there? They still need a real outfielder and another remains on the market in Dexter Fowler, who has a career .363 on-base percentage. They'd have to give up their next-highest pick to sign Fowler, and according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, that possibility is on the table.

This late-developing O's free agent pursuit stuff is not new for Dan Duquette. The result may not be exactly like it was when he signed Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz in February of 2012, in that Gallardo and Fowler are different players and will get contracts on different terms. What is similar is the way that the O's seem to be willing to take advantage of being the only team that's still left open for business as players get anxious to sign before spring training begins or has gone on too long.

In this hypothetical scenario, a Fowler signing would only cause the O's sacrifice the competitive balance pick they received for Wei-Yin Chen. That's currently slotted at #29. And sure, it'd be good for the O's to make a pick there. They need to make picks to improve their farm system. But they also need an outfielder right now to improve their team for this season. If they are going to give up their top pick for Gallardo, why not give up another?

Unlike the 2014 draft, where they were not able to pick until the third round, the O's would at least get some chances to grab second round-caliber talent in the 2016 draft. They'll still have their regular second round pick (#54), an extra second round pick for failing to sign last year's second round pick (#69), and provided they don't unwisely trade it away again this year, a competitive balance pick (#76).

It's not the same as getting high picks, but they will at least have chances to build out some depth in the system, whatever they do with Gallardo and Fowler.

Fowler, a switch hitter, has been a center fielder by trade. That's probably a hurdle to the O's signing him. He'd have to be willing to move to one of the other outfield spots instead. He has been a consistent performer over the past five seasons, though his 2015 season saw him post career lows in batting average (.250) and on-base percentage (.346), which is probably why he has lingered on the market this long.

Think about that for a second. The guy's career worst OBP for a single season is .346! That would have been the third-best OBP on the 2015 Orioles, behind only Chris Davis and Manny Machado. Orioles left fielders posted a .287 OBP last year. And Fowler has been a better hitter against left-handed pitchers in his career, meaning he'd help with another weakness of the 2015 O's, who were very bad against lefties and haven't made any additions to help with that.

Maybe none of it will end up happening. My standard advice remains that probably nothing will happen. It's an exciting day of rumors in Birdland all the same, especially coming the day after the O's hiked up their season ticket prices. We can argue over whether or not they're putting the money to good use, but there's no doubt that the extra money's being put to use.