This has been a very quiet offseason for the Orioles. The club traded closer Jim Johnson to the Athletics in a cost saving move but otherwise have only signed reliever Ryan Webb to a substantial contract. He received $4.5 million across two years. Their two-year deal with Grant Balfour fell through over physical concerns and other moves have involved minor league deals and near league minimum salaries.
It appears Baltimore is finally ready to kick things into gear and get involved in the starting pitching market now that Masahiro Tanaka is off the board. They're currently talking to three of the best available starters:
Orioles still looking for starting pitching. They've had recent, active dialogue w a few including Santana, Arroyo and Jimenez, sources say— Dan Connolly (@danconnollysun) January 24, 2014
The Orioles have already lost Scott Feldman to free agency and they could lose Jason Hammel as well. Their rotation currently includes Bud Norris, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman. Kevin Gausman and Zach Britton could be in the mix as well. There's quite a bit of potential in that group but it is underwhelming given everything we know today.
The O's have paid handsomely to keep their own players in recent years (Adam Jones and Nick Markakis, specifically), but you have to go all the way back to Miguel Tejada in 2004 for the last time they gave a free agent $10+ million annually. Ervin Santana, Bronson Arroyo and Ubaldo Jimenez all figure to command eight-figure annual salaries, so the team would have to break out of a decade-old shell to land one of the right-handers.