The Baltimore Orioles have been on the hunt for a middle-of-the-order bat and starting pitching depth all winter, but have not had luck bringing in either.
As spring camp creeps ever closer, the club has now shifted their attention primarily on adding pitching, reports Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com:
Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Thursday he is still exploring potential additions before Spring Training starts next month, with the emphasis shifted more toward pitching...
"We looked around the industry for that middle-of-the-order bat," Duquette said. "There was one free agent that was a significant player.
"There have been some other players available in a trade that I'm not sure they were better than what we had, and the cost of the acquisition has been a little pricey for us."
While it is unclear who the "significant player" is that Duquette refers to -- possibly Josh Hamilton or Nick Swisher -- it makes little difference now that the market for power bats has been cleared out. Baltimore has been linked to the three biggest trade chips available -- Justin Upton, Jason Kubel and Michael Morse -- but as Duquette states above, their asking prices were deemed too high.
The O's have been tied to a number of pitchers over the last few weeks, including Joe Saunders, Shaun Marcum, and former reliever Matt Lindstrom. Nothing appears to be imminent, though it was reported last week that the club had turned their focus to bringing the southpaw Saunders back for a full season in Baltimore.
Coming off their first winning season and playoff appearance in over a decade, the Orioles have remained surprisingly quiet this winter. The club's biggest moves so far were the re-signing of outfielder Nate McLouth and the acquisition of Trayvon Robinson from the Mariners--not exactly franchise-changing moves.