While a deal might not be done by the time Baltimore Orioles pitchers and catchers officially report on Thursday, there is growing speculation that the team may complete a deal with free-agent pitcher Yovani Gallardo.
Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweeted Tuesday night that negotiations are "ongoing" and a deal is "still considered to be probable." Earlier Tuesday, Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reported a deal is not done, but the parties remained optimistic that a contract "could be finalized over the next few days."
Rumors of serious discussions between the Orioles and Gallardo surfaced last week, with ESPN's Buster Olney reporting the two sides were discussing a three-year deal in the $40-45 million range.
Baltimore now appears willing to surrender its top draft pick (14th overall) to acquire the right-hander, a decision that appeared unlikely earlier in the offseason. The Orioles reportedly expressed interest in James Shields and Andrew Cashner of the Padres earlier this winter, indicating a serious interest in adding a veteran starter.
The 29-year-old Gallardo was 13-11 with a 3.42 ERA for the Rangers last season. He has pitched at least 184 innings each of the past seven years.
Our rumors roundup continue with another prominent free agent linked to the Orioles:
Dexter Fowler: Baltimore has also been mentioned as a suitor for the free-agent outfielder, but Encina hears any deal hinges on getting a deal done with Gallardo as well. In that scenario, the Orioles would have to surrender an additional draft pick, which would be 28th overall. Baltimore pulled a similar maneuver in the spring of 2014, when they signed right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez and DH Nelson Cruz, who were both tied to draft-pick compensation.
Ian Desmond: The Colorado Rockies have been in touch with representatives for the free-agent shortstop, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Rosenthal says the Rockies’ interest in a one-year deal with Desmond is linked to the fate of Jose Reyes, who likely faces a suspension under baseball's new joint domestic abuse policy. The Rockies hold a protected first-round pick, giving them the flexibility to sign Desmond at a more palatable cost.
Carlos Marmol: The Boston Red Sox took a flier on the former Cubs closer, signing the right-hander to a minor league deal on Tuesday. The 33-year-old last pitched in the majors in 2014 and spent last season in the Indians’ organization, striking out 47 while walking 27 in 31 innings at Triple-A Columbus. Landing an Opening Day roster spot looks like a long shot for Marmol given the crowded competition for the final two spots in the Boston bullpen.
Josh Hamilton: The veteran outfielder was an early arrival at Rangers camp and is already experiencing some left knee soreness following a January anti-inflammatory shot, reports Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram. The soreness is another reminder that the Rangers no longer can count on Hamilton as an everyday player. Hamilton, who turns 35 in May, has played in 89 and 50 games, respectively, over the last two seasons. Veteran Justin Ruggiano, signed as a free agent over the winter, could get plenty of at-bats if Hamilton’s injury issues persist. Additional left field options include Joey Gallo, Ryan Rua and Nomar Mazara.
Jenrry Mejia: The Mets “still have eyes open for bullpen help,” following the lifetime suspension to Mejia, tweets Jon Heyman of MLB Network. With camp set to begin, the right-handed options after closer Jeurys Familia include Addison Reed, Hansel Robles and Erik Goeddel.
Yadier Molina: The seven-time All-Star told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he would like to finish his career as a Cardinal. The 33-year-old, whose health remains an issue following a pair of thumb surgeries, is entering his 13th season in St. Louis. Accommodating Molina’s wishes is not an immediate issue since the eight-time Gold Glover has two years remaining, plus a mutual option for 2018, on a contract that pays him $14 million a year, with the option year at $15 million.