Orioles rumors: Baltimore focusing on Joe Saunders

Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

The Orioles have reportedly returned their focus to free agent left-hander Joe Saunders.

It was reported recently that the Baltimore Orioles pursued Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton. However, those talks fell through and the O’s now appear to be focusing on the starting pitching market, specifically left-hander Joe Saunders, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

The Orioles were one of the teams that pursued Upton, showing strong interest a few weeks back. Those talks sputtered, however, and the team currently appears more focused on adding a starting pitcher. Saunders remains a target, according to sources; the Orioles checked in on Porcello, but couldn’t find a match.

The Orioles currently have a projected starting rotation that includes Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez and an fifth starter. That open slot could be filled by a veteran like Saunders, or the club could stay in-house with Steve Johnson, Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz or Tommy Hunter.

Baltimore acquired Saunders last season from the Diamondbacks and the left-hander maintained an ERA of 3.63 over seven regular season starts for the club.

Rosenthal notes that the addition of an impact hitter "also wouldn’t hurt." It’s reportedly been a primary target of the Orioles this offseason, and Rosenthal says the team could be a candidate to acquire Washington Nationals first baseman/outfielder Mike Morse now that they’ve re-signed Adam LaRoche.

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