Orioles' free agent tidbits
I've already gotten a few questions about the report out of Japan that the Orioles will bid on shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka. From what I've been told, the Orioles still haven't decided whether they will bid or not on Nishioka, who was posted by the Chiba Lotte Marines earlier this week. And even if they did bid, few expect that the total would be enough to land the opportunity to exclusively negotiate with the player. The Orioles do have some interest in Nishioka, but they also think the price of the posting fee, coupled by the contract that the player will be looking for, will far exceed what they view as the infielder's worth.
While we are at it discussing other reports, the Orioles are not aggressively pursuing free agent starter Jorge de la Rosa. They have what I would describe as tepid interest in the lefty, and haven't crossed him off their list, but their attention is on spending money to upgrade the offense, not giving out multi-year deals to middle-of-the-rotation starters. I still believe that if the Orioles add a starter this offseason, it will be via a trade or on a low-risk one-year signing, or even on a minor league deal. De la Rosa will be able to do much, much better than that.
The Orioles have had multiple conversations with the representatitve of closer Koji Uehara, who has interest in returning to Baltimore at the right price. It would surprise me, however, if the Orioles would be willing to offer him a two-year deal. If another team is willing to extend Uehara a guaranteed two-year offer, I'd be surprised if he's back in an Orioles' uniform in 2011. Either way, Uehara appears to be at the top of the Orioles' list of their own free agents that they want to resign.
The Orioles will probably make between "four and six" additions to their 40-man roster before Saturday's deadline. Top pitching prospect Zach Britton is obviously a given, and you'd think guys like Ryan Adams and Wynn Pelzer, who have been watched closely by scouts for several weeks in the Arizona Fall League, are also under heavy consideration. I see no chance that former first round pick Billy Rowell is added to the 40-man, meaning that the Orioles could lose him in next month's Rule 5 draft. I cannot imagine another team deeming Rowell, who has played three straight years at Single-A Frederick, ready to hold down a 25-man roster spot for the duration of the 2011 season. So really, leaving him unprotected is not much of a gamble at all.