12:17pm: Two organizational sources downplayed the possibility of serious talks between Santana and the Orioles to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. She writes that multiple sources have indicated to her that the Orioles' primary focus is on adding a hitter to the lineup at this time.
9:19am: The Orioles made Ubaldo Jimenez the highest-paid free-agent pitcher in franchise history earlier this week by signing him to a four-year, $50MM contract, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports now reports that the Jimenez signing hasn't precluded the Orioles from pursuing Ervin Santana. According to Heyman, Baltimore has maintained a dialogue with Santana and his representatives at Proformance even after adding Jimenez to the fold.
Heyman writes that Santana's asking price remains high, speculating that he could be looking to match or top Jimenez's contract despite the late stage of the offseason. For most teams, the draft pick compensation attached to Santana has been the primary deterrent, but that negative is less significant to the Orioles at this point. Baltimore forfeited the No. 17 overall pick to sign Jimenez, and they traded their Competitive Balance pick to the Astros in last summer's Bud Norris trade. At this point, the top draft pick they would have to cede in order to ink Santana would be No. 55 overall.
Heyman notes that if Baltimore were to successfully sign Santana, the aforementioned Norris could transition to the closer's role for manager Buck Showalter — a role that some have speculated in the past may suit him better than the rotation.
The Orioles clearly don't view Jimenez as the final piece to their offseason, as they're reportedly still interested in sluggers Nelson Cruz and Kendrys Morales and are one of two teams said to have maintained interest in Ike Davis earlier this week. With Chris Davis and Matt Wieters each set to hit free agency following the 2015 campaign and J.J. Hardy set to hit the open market at the end of the 2014 season, the Orioles may feel that this season is their best chance to make a big push for contention.