The Baltimore Orioles appear to have turned their attention to shoring up their outfield, and are exploring a bevy of options in doing so. Baltimore has most notably been connected to Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd, as FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported earlier today that the two clubs have met to discuss Byrd in San Diego. The Orioles have also been connected to trade targets such as Justin Upton, as well as free agents Colby Rasmus and Nori Aoki, among others.
Having lost Nick Markakis (to the Braves) and Nelson Cruz (to the Mariners) this offseason, the Orioles are currently light on corner outfielders, with Alejandro De Aza and Steve Pearce currently slated to man left and right field, respectively. The Orioles could currently use somebody else to put on either side of Adam Jones, and a top-half-of-the-order hitter would be a nifty bonus for the defending AL East champions.
Earlier reports had tied the Orioles to Dodgers' outfielder Matt Kemp, but they appear to no longer be a match. Per Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles are "out of the running" to land Kemp, who now seems likely to end up with the San Diego Padres. The apparent source of the Orioles' hesitation was concerns regarding Kemp's health. The Dodgers also didn't make things any easier by apparently requesting Dylan Bundy or Kevin Gausman in return, while refusing to send any cash in Baltimore's direction.
The 37-year-old Byrd now appears to be the most realistic option of the trade candidates Baltimore is targeting, as the Phillies have been actively shopping the 13-year veteran. Byrd is owed $8 million this season, to go along with an $8 million club option for 2016 that could turn into a vesting option if Byrd meets certain plate appearance requirements. Byrd had a strong campaign in his first season with Philadelphia, hitting .264/.312/.445 with 25 home runs, a 110 OPS+, and 2.6 WAR in 637 plate appearances.
The Orioles also appear to be interested in re-signing Delmon Young, as MASNSports.com's Roch Kubatko reports that Baltimore is considered the favorite to land the free agent outfielder/designated hitter. Young has been seeking a two-year deal, while the Orioles have preferred to only guarantee one, so it's unclear if a compromise can be made. Young was signed by the Orioles to a minor-league deal prior to last season, and he payed immediate dividends, hitting .302/.337/442 in a 255 plate appearance sample.
In addition to Kemp, Byrd, and Young, the Orioles have been linked to Justin Upton (per MLB.com's Mark Bowman), Jonny Gomes, Chris Denorfia (from Encina), Nori Aoki, and Colby Rasmus (via CBS Sports' Jon Heyman). Heyman also adds that the Orioles are no longer interested in Melky Cabrera, who would seem to fit in perfectly with the club's current needs.
As Kubatko points out, the Orioles also seem to be willing to move left-hander Brian Matusz, who could reasonably be used as a trade chip. The 27-year-old Matusz has been rather good since converting to relief full-time in 2013. Over the last two years, he has posted a 3.51 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 9.0 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9 in 102.2 innings pitched. He is currently scheduled to become a free agent following the 2016 season.