The Orioles are still actively browsing the free agent market for impact players, and the threat of losing a draft pick to land the top remaining talent might not stop them, according to Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports.
This offseason, Baltimore has been linked to top starters Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez, as well as sluggers Kendrys Morales and Nelson Cruz. All four of those players were extended qualifying offers by their 2013 teams in November, and they each declined in search of a long-term deal on the open market. In order to sign one of these players, the Orioles would be forced to forfeit their first-round pick in the 2014 draft.
In the past, the club has been hesitant to forfeit a high draft pick in order to sign free agents tethered to draft compensation, but this winter might be different.
Several talented players remain unsigned, and the O's could certainly benefit from adding a starter, another hitter, and a closer to a roster that has seen many key contributors move on this winter. The exodus of Jim Johnson, Scott Feldman, and Nate McLouth has sapped the club's depth.
In order to compete in a highly-competitive division next season, the Orioles could decide to sacrifice their first-round pick and the budget that comes with it, so long as it brings in necessary talent.
Baltimore "doesn't care about [Morales'] glove" according to Kubatko, and with Chris Davis manning first base, Morales might not need it very often if he lands with the O's.
The Mets have continued to remain in contact with Baltimore on Ike Davis, but Kubatko suggests they have to "move off" of lefty Eduardo Rodriguez if they intend to get any further in negotiations. The Orioles would prefer not to trade any of their top pitching prospects.
The market for pitching is at a standstill until Masahiro Tanaka signs, but there could be an outbreak of activity after he reaches an agreement. Jimenez and Santana highlight the market for starters, but Baltimore could also turn to pitchers that won't require the loss of a draft pick like Matt Garza, A.J Burnett or Bronson Arroyo.