Orioles rumors: Offseason shopping far from over

Greg Fiume

Baltimore is still in search of a closer, an impact bat, and another starting pitcher.

The Orioles still have several things to check off of their winter checklist -- including a closer, a starting pitcher and another impact bat, according to Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore.

They appeared to have a plan in place to address a few of those issues earlier this offseason, but their deals to sign Grant Balfour and acquire Ike Davis disintegrated, leaving the team's most pressing issues unresolved.

Baltimore has been linked to several players that remain unsigned. Most notably former Rays' closer Fernando Rodney, who has drawn interest from several teams looking to solidify the back end of their bullpen. He could provide the Orioles with a well-practiced replacement for Jim Johnson, who they traded to the Athletics earlier this winter for infielder Jemile Weeks. If the team stands pat, right hander Tommy Hunter would presumably fill in as the closer.

Several free agent starters have also popped up in Orioles' rumors. In his report, Dubroff cites Bronson Arroyo, A.J. Burnett, Chris Capuano, Ubaldo Jimenez and others as possibilities, but a long-term commitment to an expensive veteran might not be the general manager Dan Duquette's preferred option. Baltimore boasts some of the best pitching prospects in baseball. The team will look to Kevin Gausman to start the season, and Dylan Bundy will attempt to return to the majors at some point next summer after undergoing Tommy John surgery in July. A few other arms are "on the horizon," and that could keep Baltimore from promising a lengthy deal to free agents.

Nelson Cruz and Kendrys Morales have also been rumored as potential targets. Both players are looking for expensive, multi-year deals. The cost for free agent bats might have been what prompted the O's to pursue Davis in trade talks with the Mets. They were asked to part with lefty Eduardo Rodriguez in exchange for the 26-year-old first baseman, but it appears as though they are unwilling to part with him at this time. The two sides are still reportedly engaged in negotiations.

If the team attempts to address all the issues Dubroff lists in his report, the Orioles could be off to busy start in 2014.

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