Orioles have made several offers to free agents; report says Konerko received one
With baseball’s annual meetings looming next week and the Orioles’ No. 1 free agent target, Victor Martinez, already committed to the Detroit Tigers, the front office is apparently forging ahead with its plan to improve the 2011 club.
The Orioles are seeking one or two power bats to play corner infield as well a shortstop and bullpen help and, according to an industry source, the Orioles have made multiple offers to free agents this week.
Jim Bowden, the former Washington Nationals general manager and current broadcaster for Sirius XM radio, reported Wednesday that the Orioles had made a “significant offer” to first baseman Paul Konerko, most recently of the Chicago White Sox.
As is his usual procedure, Andy MacPhail, the Orioles’ president of baseball operations, wouldn’t confirm or deny the report.
“We are not at liberty to comment, period,” MacPhail said.
With Martinez off the board, Konerko likely becomes the Orioles’ top target. The 34-year-old right-handed hitter batted .312 with 39 homers and 111 RBIs and was fifth in the 2010 American League MVP voting. His .393 on-base percentage and .584 slugging percentage were his highest marks in a 14-season career.
The Orioles also have a history of courting Konerko. They were the top bidder for his services in the 2005 offseason, but he chose to remain with the White Sox and signed a five-year, $60 million deal.
Konerko not only would provide needed power from the right side, but the four-time all-star mashes left-handed pitching, an Orioles’ weakness in the recent past. Konerko is a lifetime .300 hitter versus lefties, which includes a .339 average last season.
Heading into the offseason, the Orioles have had interest in myriad free-agent corner infielders including third baseman Adrian Beltre and first basemen Derrek Lee, Adam LaRoche, Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman and Carlos Pena, among others. It’s unclear as to whether any of those also have received offers from the Orioles.
The annual winter meetings begin Monday near Orlando.