Even after signing right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year, $50MM deal earlier in the week, the Orioles are still being aggressive on the free agent market. The team is likely to add one of the three top remaining available free agents-- Nelson Cruz, Kendrys Morales, or Ervin Santana.
Baltimore is still in contact with Santana's representatives, according to sources, and have expressed that they like him "quite a bit" throughout the offseason. The Mariners and Blue Jays are among the other teams currently involved in the Santana sweepstakes, but the Orioles could soon show aggressiveness by adding their second front-end starter of the week.
According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the O's have intensified their pursuit of Morales in recent days as they look to add an offensive piece. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Pirates and Mariners are also currently pursuing the slugger, and that his free agent situation does not appear to be close to a resolution. Morales appears to be currently looking for a one-year deal that includes a player option for a second season, signaling that he has lessened his contract demands in hopes of getting a contract done.
Cruz has been seen as a great fit for the Mariners all along, but one person with knowledge of the talks between the two sides mentioned earlier in the week that discussions were "on hold" because the two sides were not seeing eye-to-eye on the outfielder's value. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com now reports that the Orioles remain in contact with Cruz along with Morales, and that the O's could swing a deal with either slugger in the near future. It appears as though the Rangers remain a longshot to re-sign Cruz, and that Baltimore and Seattle remain as his two most likely destinations.
While things could change in the near future, it appears as though the O's are going to add either Santana, Cruz or Morales within the next couple of weeks. The Mariners are also likely to be aggressive on all three, with other teams lurking in the background looking to make a big splash before the beginning of this offseason. One thing's for certain, though. This unorthodox offseason is coming to an end soon.