According to both Buster Olney of ESPN and Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports, the Baltimore Orioles are making progress towards deals with free agents Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler. Words like “confident” and “expectation” are used by both reporters, and it appears to be only a matter of time before the Orioles are introducing a free-agent starting pitcher and free-agent outfielder in the middle of spring training — something they did in 2014 with Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz.
From the Non-Update Update Dept: #orioles still confident will sign Gallardo & Fowler. Just working on $. Price apparently changed recently
— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) February 17, 2016
The Orioles were thought to be close with Gallardo since last week, and many believed the addition of Fowler would follow closely behind. Gallardo is expected to sign for three years and $40-45 million. Fowler is seeking $12-13 million per year on a two- or three-year deal.
Signing both free agents would require the Orioles to surrender their first-round draft pick, as well as the compensatory pick received after the loss of Wei-Yin Chen. Even with a farm system ranked near the bottom of the league by most prospect experts, the Orioles are willing to forfeit their picks. The price on both Gallardo and Fowler has dropped significantly enough for the front office to justify the lost picks.
The Orioles came into the offseason needing to add a starting pitcher and a corner outfielder, both areas of weakness during the 81-81 2015 campaign. With Gallardo and Fowler in the fold, they will have checked both items off their list while managing to retain Chris Davis, Darren O’Day, and Matt Wieters. The Orioles have already blown away all sorts of franchise accounting-department records, and it appears there are still two more names to be added to the payroll.