Denard Span might have been nice. A left-handed hitting outfielder with speed. The Orioles could have used him, but not for three years and $31 million.
Yes, Scott Boras struck again.
There was no demonstration for interested teams that Span was healthy. The San Francisco Giants jumped at the opportunity to add Span.
For most of his big league career he’s played center field, but that’s Adam Jones territory. The Orioles would have put him in right field where they have a glaring need.
Span would have livened up spring training. When he was with Minnesota, his family drove from their home in Tampa to Sarasota and enthusiastically cheered for him in games that didn’t count.
The Orioles now hope that Span’s agent, who is also Chris Davis’ doesn’t pull a January surprise and find a suitor willing to better seven years and $150 million.
While we wait for that to resolve, the Orioles continue to look at other options. Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton are the two most interesting outfielders on the market.
An Upton signing would cost the Orioles their first round draft choice, but that would be worth it. Cespedes’ wouldn’t, but his signing would cause some juggling in manager Buck Showalter’s lineup.
He won’t play center with Jones around, and the Orioles signed South Korean Hyun Soo Kim to play left. They don’t think Kim’s a right fielder—or a first baseman, and he probably didn’t come to the U.S to be a designated hitter.
But, if Cespedes’ price drops; at the beginning of free agency he was asking for six years north of $100 million, the Orioles might take him off the market.
There are other outfielders still available in free agency. They include Marlon Byrd, Matt Joyce, David Murphy, Alex Rios, Will Venable and Shane Victorino. The Orioles have had some interest in Byrd, Murphy, Venable and Victorino in the past.
Some of these names—and others—could be fallbacks if the Orioles don’t sign Cespedes or Upton—or lower price alternatives if Davis re-signs.
The Giants were rumored as a possible destination for Cespedes, but after signing Span, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, they probably don’t have enough money for him.
Gerardo Parra, the right fielder for the final two months of the season, seems to be a semi-hot commodity. Now, he’s being linked with the Nationals, for whom Span played the last three seasons, and the Colorado Rockies.
Delmon Young, who made a surprise appearance at minicamp two years ago, which led to his signing, is also on the list of available right fielders. He hasn’t played since he was let go by the Orioles last July.
Travis Snider, who also played right field for the Orioles last year, is also on that list.
He won’t be walking through that door in Sarasota next week.
NOTES: Vance Worley, who the Orioles acquired on waivers from Pittsburgh in October, will not be at minicamp. The camp is not designed for arbitration-eligible players.
-Zach Clark, who pitched in one game for the Orioles in 2013, has accepted a position with the Houston Astros as an amateur scout. He’ll cover the Northeast.